Helping someone you’re mentoring is part of the job. You’re supposed to get to know what they want and help them achieve it by leading them through the objectives you set together. It’s not an easy job but it is a rewarding one.
1. Listen to Your Mentee – Don’t assume that you know everything. Even though the mentee is wanting to learn from you, you can’t help them get what they need if you don’t listen actively to them. When they speak, listen, show interest, and repeat back to them what you think you heard them saying.
2. Set Up Goals and Objectives – Once you’ve heard them, set up some short-term and long-term goals and objectives for the relationship and for them for their future. You may have educational goals, networking goals, or more. For example, if they need to improve their public speaking skills, help them join Toastmasters.
3. Lead But Don’t Do It for Them – Your job is that of a leader. Set the example and give your advice based on experience, but don’t do everything for them. They need to be able to stand on their own based on what they’re learning from you.
4. Open Doors – If you know others who can help your mentee learn something too, make the connections for them by making introductions. Invite them to parties. Introduce them on LinkedIn and set them up for the future by opening the right doors. It’s up to them to go through the door, but you can open them by making the connections.
5. Be Willing to Learn Too – One of the benefits of being a mentor is that you can learn from someone with fresh eyes to the business you’re in. They’ve just learned the newest information, technology, and ideas in school. They have lived a different life and have different ideas. Open your eyes and mind to learning from them too.
6. Motivate and Inspire – You will want to motivate and inspire your mentee to move to new heights in their career by being a good example to them. Don’t be a "do as I say" type of person. Live the example and your mentee will learn so much more and be so much more motivated and inspired.
7. Know When It’s Time to Move On – This is an important factor in a mentor and mentee relationship. At some point, they may have exceeded your ability to help them. Now you may want to introduce them to a different mentor who can help them further.
Being a mentor is satisfying to you and to the mentee. You can both get a lot out of it, but the mentee should grow and change and hopefully end up with the dream job they wanted after a few years. They may move on from you after time, but you’ve likely developed a long-term contact that you can use when you take on your next mentee.