Most managers, even at senior level have never bothered to learn how to be an effective mentor.
While many people consider mentoring as simply answering questions and giving advice; it in fact requires a unique set of skills and practice if at all it is going to be effective and produce the desired results.
This article will explore what constitutes an effective mentor and why it is key that every manager is equipped with this skill.
Create an open and supportive climate for discussion: An effective mentor always seeks to develop trust from the mentee by encouraging open and two-way communication process.
This often means sharing personal experiences or difficult times you went through so that the mentee knows she or he can discuss tough issues.
• As a mentor there is need to have respect for the mentee as an individual. Doing so will enable the mentee to realise that she or he has something to offer during the mentoring process.
• An effective mentor needs to be patient if the mentee seems unfocused. The best approach is to assist them focus by presenting and discussing options.
• An effective mentor will endeavor to assure the mentee that she or he hopes to learn from the mentoring programme.
Demonstrate good listening: Most mentors need to improve their listening skills because their tendency is to talk more than they listen and to interrupt people more than should be the case. What then should an effective mentor do?
• Asking the mentee open-ended questions with the view to get her or him to open up as much as possible is crucial. For example, you could ask the mentee these questions; How did you decide to major in Human Resources Development? What are your long-term goals?)
• After having listened carefully to a response, you could ask follow-up questions to demonstrate genuine interest. For example: After you’ve completed your probation, what do you hope to do next to advance yourself in your line of career?
• If you are not clear about a certain issue, you could paraphrase so that you get what the person is trying to say. For example, you could say; So what I think you’re saying is that you want to broaden your knowledge of the Human Resources Development field.
Provide constructive feedback and advice: As a mentor, it is important for you to match the degree of openness of your mentee. You should never give negative feedback until you have built a strong relationship with the mentee and she or he is ready to receive it.
• There is need to give a balance of both praise and constructive feedback on how the mentee can improve.
• An effective mentor will focus on behaviors that can be changed and behaviors that are appropriate within the organisation or department.
• Allow your mentee to set the preliminary goals and then give feedback and suggestions on how she or he is fairing.
• As an effective mentor, there is need to make goals specific and realistic indicating target dates. There is also need to monitor progress and assisting her or him to adapt plans when necessary while providing ongoing encouragement.
• When barriers arise, do problem solving with your mentee. Do not give the impression that you have answers to all the problems but rather help your mentee think through strategies and options.
Developing such mentoring skills will definitely put the manager at a level where she or he will is able to motivate subordinates which effectively boosts morale and the level of productivity.
Paul Nyausaru is an HR Practitioner and leadership coach. For all your HR interventions and leadership development training you can get in touch with him on WhatsApp/call 0774062756 or Email firstname.lastname@example.org