How to Be an Effective Mentor

Mentoring can be life-changing and a great help to those who want to change certain aspects of their life.

In some areas of our lives we could use a mentor to help us--not only to improve our work or family relationships but to also improve our quaiity of life. A mentor is a person who has certain personal and professional qualities that makes he or she stand out and a person who can help others achieve goals that might otherwise be unattained. But, to be an effective mentor, one must activate certain behaviors.

Step One: To be an effective mentor you must be create and maintain trust with one you will mentor. If trust is not made soon in the relationship, then an honest relationship will not be made and chances for reaching goals that the mentee desires, may not be achieved. In order to be an effective mentor, it is vital to know as much about the mentee as possible--such as goals and desires. That way, you can help he or she attain the desired goals.

Step Two: Give thought to where you would like to hold the mentoring sessions. Perhaps you could the sessions at your home, at the mentee's home, with a group of people desiring the same goals or in a private conference room. Talk with the mentee and see where he or she would feel comfortable. And, if mentoring children, always get permission from the parents first.

Step Three: Make sure that funds have been set aside for the materials you will need such as training tools or equipment, books or other sources that will help with the mentoring.

Step Four: Make it clear to the mentee what you will and will not talk about in your sessions. The mentee needs to understand that sessions with you will not take care of any or all problems. Those kind of solutions have to come from the mentee--and his or her own work and efforts. In addition, do not attempt to instruct a mentee in areas where you don't have the knowledge or skills. If there is a need for the mentee to know about something that is not in your area of expertise, advise him or her to see out another. If you know of someone who might help, then offer the information. If you don't, then leave this decision up to the mentee.

Step Five: Keep all of your meetings and conversations with the mentee private. It is important not to discuss anything that goes on between you and the mentee, to anyone. It is vital for trust to be maintained in the mentor relationship at all times, so that the mentee can progress toward success in achieving his or her goals.

Step Six: Come to a conclusion on how long the mentorship program should last. Most mentor programs last six months to a year. Write down what goal or goals want to be achived by that time. Ensure that the goals that are written down are specific, clear and how and when these goals will be achieved.

Step Seven: Create a certain time to meet for the sessions and stay with that time period as often as possible. Having a particular scheducle and following it, helps to keep the meetings regular, timely and helps with goal achievement.

Step Eight: Be sure to talk with your management or team on the progress that is being made with the mentee and document all sessions. Accurate and carefully maintained documents will help you, should you need to be protected from legal action or if any behavior that is inappropriate is brought up once the sessions are finished.

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Posted on May 2, 2010