Skills for Mentoring

Business leaders use a variety of different approaches to increase results within their organizations. When it comes to developing human capital and improving the overall productivity of their employees, many managers and executives are turning to mentoring. Mentoring serves as a way to generate results that are beneficial to not only your business, but also the employees being mentored.

Anyone can be a mentor – it’s simply using your knowledge and experience to help others grow. There are, however, a few specific skills you should possess in order to generate the best results from your mentoring efforts:
1. A Want to Help Others – Just as with almost everything else in life, if you enjoy mentoring you’re going to be better at it. To be a mentor, it’s important that you have a strong want to help others. This want should be extended past the realms of the office. If you hope to be effective in mentoring, you need to really care about both the private and professional well-being of your mentee – oftentimes personal problems such as stress at home can have an impact on on-the-job performance.
2. The Ability to Listen and Probe for Underlying Problems – Unlike coaching, which relies more on guiding your charges towards a particular skillset or measurable improvement in productivity, mentoring is all-encompassing and relies more upon listening than guiding. As a mentor, you should be skilled at sitting back and listening to your mentee share their problems, thoughts and opinions. You do, however, need to be adept enough in problem solving to probe and discover any underlying issues that may need to be discussed. Mentoring is about developing a relationship with the person you’re working with, and it can take time to gain the level of trust needed to get to the bottom of some issues.
3. Capability of Offering Helpful Feedback – Once you’ve listened and analyzed the roots of the problems your mentee is facing, you need to be able to provide helpful feedback and advice. Mentors need to be able to assist in providing insight into a number of different situations. During your mentoring sessions, the focus should be on allowing your mentee to develop an action plan to overcome obstacles. At that point you should offer your opinion and suggestions. Your advice should always be given in a friendly, non-threatening manner – there needs to be a mutual trust and respect in any mentoring situation.
4. You Must Be Resourceful – Mentors aren’t expected to know everything there is to know about every single situation that could be affecting a mentee. It’s alright to tell the person you’re mentoring that you need to do some research in order to best help guide them. Coaches are experts on the specific topics that they coach, but mentors are faced with a myriad of different issues. While you may not need to know how to solve every problem in order to become a mentor, you need to be resourceful enough to help find the information needed to guide your mentee in the right direction.
Mentoring can generate huge results, both personally and professionally, for the mentees you work with. This development isn’t something that will occur overnight though, and you should be willing to make a long-term commitment if you plan to utilize mentoring in your business. With the right approach and appropriate skills, any good leader can use their knowledge and experience to become a great mentor.

Author's Bio: 

Tracey Fieber helps business owners simplify, automate, and grow their businesses and their lives. She believes in the power of hiring the right people, and helps her clients cultivate highly effective teams that allow them to focus on the work about which they're passionate. By nurturing business owners' strengths and holding them accountable for their own success, Tracey's leadership, communication, and coaching techniques help her clients take massive leaps forward.