This morning I was alerted to this from the Boston Mentoring Examiner and thought it rang true! Get back to the basics of mentoring; a journey worth taking regardless of being online or otherwise. Thank you Hal Portner.
Good mentors relate, assess, coach, and support. Done well, these functions stimulate their protégés’ creative and critical thinking, empower them to envision future situations, encourage them to take informed risks, and help them build the capacity to develop perceptive decisions and take appropriate actions.
- Relating – Good mentors build and maintain relationships with their protégés based on mutual trust, respect, and professionalism. Relating behaviors create an environment that allows mentors to develop a genuine understanding of their protégés’ ideas and needs and encourages them to honestly share and reflect.
- Assessing – Good mentors gather and diagnose data about their protégés’ ways of learning; they determine their protégés’ competency and confidence to handle a given situation. Assessing behaviors ensure that the protégés’ needs and learning styles are identified so that mentoring decisions can be based on a thoughtful consideration of a variety of data.
- Coaching – Good mentors challenge their protégés by raising the bar. They help their protégés fine-tune their skills, enhance their grasp of information, and acquire resources. Coaching behaviors allow mentors to serve as role models to their protégés, to share relevant experiences, and especially to open new opportunities.
- Supporting – Good mentors listen. They are sounding boards for ideas. They look for opportunities to provide resources. They act as cheerleader when things go well and encourage their protégés to reflect when they don’t.
A good Mentor is not a guru or master teacher at whose feet one sits hoping to absorb life’s mysteries. The role of mentor as “expert-who-has-the-answers” has its place and value, but a neophyte needs to develop the capacity and confidence to make his or her own informed decisions, enrich his or her own knowledge, and sharpen his or her own abilities. That is the mentor’s role, and the good Mentor knows this.