Expert Mentoring Advice: Best Practices, Worst Practices

Best Practices:
There’s More to Mentoring than Meets the Eye
Worst Practices:
How to Dis-serve Your Mentee
The Fine Art of Effective Listening
– Two ears, one mouth…
– Patience: problems can be more complex than you think
– Sounding board, not “bored”
– When remote, acknowledge frequently (paraphrase, clarify).
No time, no time…
– Cancel at the last minute because something really important comes up
– Come late, leave early
– Oops, I forgot
– Why bother to schedule meetings?.
Advise and Catalyze
– Not just one answer; recognize and weigh options
– Share problem-solving skills and let the mentee find the solution
– Discuss the impacts of various actions.
Did you say something?
– I’m the ME in MENTOR
– When I want your opinion, I’ll ask for it
– If it worked for me, it will work for you..
Flexibility (the Mentoring Asana)
– Respect mentee’s choice to do what’s right for his or her situation
– Accommodate changes in topics, goals
– Life happens – reschedule, don’t disengage (deadlines, holidays, illnesses).
Everything you do is wrong
– Why in the world did you do that?
– Well, if you can’t explain it, I can’t help you
– Just do what I say, and don’t ask questions.
Objective Support
– Provide timely constructive feedback as a disinterested third party
– Be a safe harbor for venting; be a trustworthy confidant
– Evaluate progress and adjust goals
– Encourage getting outside comfort zone (reward risk-taking; learn from failure).
No explanations necessary
– Surely you can learn by osmosis
– No need to share this since it was sent to an email group
– If everyone knew about these resources, who’d need me?.
Share Yourself, Be Committed
– Meet regularly: it’s not mentoring if it doesn’t actually happen
– Meet in person whenever possible
– Have an open door
– Provide the connect between the mentee’s goals and the organization’s or company’s goals
– Connect the mentee with your network, engage in mentee’s network
– Share your passion, have a passion for sharing
So, as I told your manager…
– Confidentiality, what confidentiality?
– I didn’t think you’d mind my sharing…

Did you want to get something out of this?

– Goals? goals? we don’t need no stinkin’ goals…
– Did I say I’d do that?
– Your satisfaction is not my problem

Adapted from “Sun Mentoring: 1996-2009” SMLI TR-2009-18, by Katy Dickinson, Tanya Jankot, and Helen Gracon.
Copyright 2009, Sun Microsystems, Inc. All rights reserved. Unlimited copying without fee is permitted provided that the copies are not made nor distributed for direct commercial advantage, and credit to the source is given.

Published as a Mentoring Standard web page 15 Sep 2015.
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