Mentoring has been a hot topic lately, and I honestly hope it never dies down. It’s been around literally since forever (if you count Greek mythology as “since forever”), and it’s about time that it’s gotten more attention. Mentoring, to me, is all about helping someone get to their next level by offering an ear, advice, and support. If you’re interested in mentoring your younger counterparts, or you’re looking for ways to be a better mentor to your current mentees, here are six ways to shine:
This is very basic, but you’d be surprised (or not) how many people fail at this. Listening is not just waiting for the other person to finish talking so you can speak. Listening is truly understanding what the other person has to say. Sometimes a discussion doesn’t even need to be built because the other person just wants to be heard. In a world where people tend only to care about themselves, just listening speaks volumes.
Your mentee needs to know the good, the bad, and the ugly. Let’s face it. We’ve all been inspired by a celebrity at one point or another, but what we don’t usually see is the struggle. All we see is the triumph. Sharing “failures” and struggle stories can sometimes be more encouraging than the triumph itself. So, get “naked” and tell your mentee all the juicy tidbits.
Refer Products & Services
One thing that young professional women yearn for is information. The most common topics of discussion that come up in groups to which I belong are referral requests. “To whom should I go for this?” “What should I use to accomplish that?” I encourage you to be open to sharing your secret suppliers. Like Biggie said, “No need to be greedy.” There is enough work out here for all of us.
Be Their Wing [Wo]man
This one is big. I know because my mentors have been this to me time and time again, and every time I am beyond thankful. Don’t just wait for them to invite you to an event (networking event, educational workshop, whatever!). You should go ahead and do the inviting! If you know of an event that would be good for them, send it their way, offer to go with them, and if you’re able, offer to pay for their ticket. Now THAT is a power move. As a young professional, especially if they’re a recent grad with student loan debt and a job that doesn’t quite add up yet, then paying for a ticket is the ultimate gesture. Every time my mentor did that for me, I felt like I won the lottery.
Let Them Shadow You
As a kid, I loved “Bring Your Daughter to Work” day. I enjoyed seeing what my parents did at work, interacting with their co-workers, and touching all the cool buttons and equipment. Let me tell you, that excitement doesn’t change when you get older. Let your mentee shadow you for a day, for a half day, for a meeting. Whatever you two can work out. Nothing beats firsthand experience. And as the mentor, this gives you an opportunity to really test your own knowledge and leadership skills, because if I remember correctly (and I’m sure I do), “Bring Your Daughter to Work” day was more than just seeing and touching. There were explanations and activities. So make it educational, make it worthwhile, and make it fun!
Be a Sponsor to Them
A sponsor is someone that vouches for another person’s skill and credibility. Technically, this is more than mentoring. It’s a step up. Mentors help their mentees build skill and credibility by guiding them in the right direction; a sponsor helps them use it. You can be a sponsor to your mentee by offering them a job, referring them to someone else who can offer them a job, sending them clients, or investing money in their business. These are just a few examples. The list can go on.
If we really want to see the true impact women can have on this world, we need more mentors. And as you can see, you don’t need a profound repertoire. All you need is a little time and a willing heart. So what do you think? Are you ready to be a Power Mentor?