The essential qualities you will develop as your mentoring course progresses
The role of the Mentor has become increasingly central to the onboarding of new staff and the professional development and retention of talent.
A Manager who can prove they have experience and understanding of mentoring is now a key requirement when companies look to recruit. But, what qualities do you need to develop to fulfil the role and responsibilities of a Mentor effectively?
Coaching and mentoring courses will help you understand the role of the Mentor and give you the skills you need to become one. This is an essential part of the modern mMnager’s role.
Mentoring: it’s all Greek to me!
Yet, even though the concept of mentoring has come to the fore in recent years there is a long history behind it.
The tradition of someone sharing their knowledge and experience to help another succeed probably stretches back to the dawn of society. In many tribal societies a common feature is of younger members pairing with respected elders who pass on their cultural knowledge and survival skills.
The word ‘Mentor’ itself can be traced as far back as the Ancient Greeks: Mentor was a character in Homer’s epic poem, the Odyssey, who advised and protected Odysseus’ son Telemachus.
Becoming a Mentor today remains something of an odyssey. Like any hero on a quest there are qualities that you need if you are to succeed in your aims.
Here are the essential qualities that will distinguish those who inspire as Mentors, interspersed with five quotes to inspire you on your journey to becoming an effective Mentor.
A Reflective Practitioner
Mentors are able to look back on their experiences – both their successes and their failures – and reflect on them.
They are then able to assess what contributed to the outcome of their actions, processes and procedures and use these as a tool for teaching.
There are many people who may be at the top of their field but have never learnt how to reflect and analyse how they got where they are today. They may be a world-class practitioner but they will make lousy Mentors.
Simply hearing about what someone has done has very little value compared to understanding why they did it and what the consequences of this were.
“The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.”
Tact and Discretion
Mentoring relationships succeed by creating a space within which a bond can be formed: a learning bond. At their heart lies an honest exchange of opinions and views.
To encourage those you Mentor to be absolutely honest about their working life and circumstances you need to give them the confidence that what they say will not go beyond you.
An effective Mentor not only sets boundaries and ground rules for the coaching sessions, they also have the discretion to make sure they are maintained.
“Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.”
John C. Crosby
Honest but Diplomatic
This space for honesty is not just created for those you Mentor, however.
If someone is brave enough to seek advice and explain their challenges to you, it is vital that you have the courage to offer them straight answers, however uncomfortable these truths may be.
The skill here is in expressing honest appraisals and assessments in a diplomatic way. Your honesty must empower rather than discourage.
This is something of a tightrope act – it requires balance, judgement and training.
“If you light a lamp for someone else it will also lighten your own path”
A Curious Mind
Far from killing the cat curiosity is essential for a Mentor.
You need to be passionately curious about your industry and professional practice, but you also need to be engaged and interested in the people you are working with.
Mentoring isn’t about bolting on ready-made solutions to problems. It is about helping others find solutions that suit their own personalities, beliefs and skills.
Without curiosity about the people you are coaching how will you ever discover what makes them tick, what their goals are, what they’ve achieved and what holds them back?
“Mentoring is a two-way street: you get out what you put in”
A Generous Spirit
Generosity is the essential glue that holds the other qualities together.
As a Mentor you must passionately want to see others succeed, and help them find the way that best suits them to do this.
You may help by clearing a few paths and smoothing out the road ahead, but, most of all, you will help by making time to explore issues in a structured manner and helping others find their own route through them.
As a generous Mentor you will support those around you to become the people that they want to become.
“A Mentor empowers a person to see a possible future, and believe it can be obtained”
Develop your Mentoring skills on a Coaching and Mentoring Course
Mentoring skills and qualities are in demand in the modern workplace.
Yet, the rewards of Mentoring go deeper than that. It is a richly rewarding experience, at its best, for the Mentor themselves.
Find out more about the range of Coaching and Mentoring courses that are on offer at BSBM today and start your Mentoring Odyssey.