If you’re reading this blog, you probably recently made up your mind that you want to become a mentor for someone in your workplace.
Maybe there’s someone who came to you asking for a mentor or maybe you woke up one day and decided you want to want to give mentoring a try. Regardless, the next step is to determine how to become a professional mentor – which is easier than it may seem!
I’ve had the opportunity to mentor several junior associates throughout my career and have found the experience very rewarding. It allows you to pass along your knowledge and wisdom to others, and it’s rewarding to see someone you have mentored grow and succeed.
5 steps on how to become a professional mentor
1. Find your reason why.
Before you set out on your mentoring journey, think about why you’re doing it and what you want to get out of it.
Mentoring has many benefits. It’s personally rewarding but also provides great professional development, career progression and personal growth. Mentoring can show employers that you are a dedicated individual who is willing to help others grow their knowledge and skills.
Whatever your reason or goal, keep it in the back of your mind throughout the mentoring process to ensure you’re actively working toward it.
2. Find a mentee.
Some of the best mentoring relationships develop organically. Consider those who you have previously provided advice to and/or junior staff in your network/organization.
I’ve been approached in the past by junior associates who were looking to build their knowledge base and seek advice on how to handle tough situations. Our conversations grew into a mentorship.
3. Understand what the mentee is looking for.
The first time you meet with the person who you’ll be mentoring, ask them what they hope to get from this relationship.
It could be information sharing, perspective, guidance or even all three. Use this time to listen and ask questions. Help coach and guide the junior associate.
Mentoring is a great way to invest in junior staff’s development without adding additional cost.
4. Set meeting expectations.
Agree on how often you will meet. The mentee should schedule upcoming meetings with an agenda. This will ensure the meetings are productive and get after everything they want to discuss. Everyone’s time is important, so you want to get as much as you can from your time together.
If someone can’t make the scheduled time, make sure you reschedule sooner than later. Keep the momentum going!
5. Determine a loose mentorship timeline.
Professional mentorships do not have a specific time limit. Some believe that the relationship should last no more than three to six months, others believe that mentoring is a long-term process where an individual is supported over a number of years to realize their true potential.
Work together to see what feels right for the two of you.
So, what are you waiting for? Go find your next mentee and watch them flourish!