Workplace mentorship programs are one of the best ways to build yourself up professionally and personally. There are more and more organizations that are using mentoring programs as an added bonus to attract and keep employees. It is a tactic that works, which explains why over 70 percent of Fortune 500 companies have workplace mentorships. One of the keys to a successful workplace mentorship program is setting goals and objectives.
However, if you are new to mentoring it can be difficult to know where to start so that you get the best from the experience and your mentor. Here is a brief guide about what to expect in a workplace mentoring program and how you can succeed.
Beginning a mentorship
If your employer has an established mentoring program in the workplace the first thing you need to do is get registered. This can happen in a variety of ways, depending on how the program is managed. Mentoring software is one of the easiest ways for an organization to manage its mentorship program. If your organization uses mentoring software, registering should simply involve an online questionnaire. This list of questions may seem very detailed but it is important to remember they are really trying to find out more about you so they can make a good match with a mentor.
After you have filled in your forms and become registered as a mentee, the program manager will need to find you a mentor match. Again, with mentoring software, the process of finding a good mentor-mentee pairing can take just minutes. Once you have your match, it is up to both you and your mentor to set a schedule and decide what you are going to accomplish during the next few months.
Meeting your mentor
The first time you meet your mentor can be a little nerve-racking, but if you go into the situation prepared it should go smoothly. There are some things you can do to make sure your time with your mentor is used effectively for you both. These include:
- Know what your goals are and what you want to achieve through the mentorship
- Define how you are going to measure those goals so you know if you have been successful
- Have some questions lined up to get to know your mentor and how they can help you
- Give feedback to your mentor program manager, which can help enhance the workplace mentoring program
Tips for mentees
Although many people may think that the success of a mentorship match is largely dependent upon the mentor, that is not really the case. A good relationship between the mentor and mentee is as much the responsibility of the mentee as it is the mentor. Here are some ways that you can help create a productive relationship with your mentor.
1. Show appreciation. Remember that your mentor is not being paid to spend their time with you. Appreciationof their time is a characteristic of a good mentee. You can do this by showing an interest in them as a person. If they have a special milestone coming up celebrate it with them. It can also come through in the way you communicate with them. A simple thank you or follow up email can show your mentor that you value their time.
2. Be prepared. Along the same lines as showing appreciation, coming to your meetings with questions and a plan can also foster a good working relationship with your mentor. Do some research or follow up on some advice they offered to demonstrate you really care to get the most out of the mentoring opportunity.
3. Commit to your mentor. Show up on time or at least give sufficient notice if you have to miss a meeting. Then reschedule as soon as you can. Be dedicated to the mentorship and commit yourself to get the most out of the experience.
4. Give back. Your mentor is offering you knowledge, advice and guidance but as a mentee, you also have something to offer to the mentorship. Find ways that you can help your mentor, whether that is by teaching them new skills or encouraging them in their dreams or hobbies.
5. Take the risk. Good mentors will often push you beyond your comfort zone. Rather than resist them take up the challenge and follow their advice. Remember that your mentor wants to help you do your best and sometimes that means taking risks.
What to look for in a mentor
One key part of getting the most from your mentorship is to pick the right mentor for you. There are several things to look for when you are in the pairing process. These include:
Experience - does the mentor have experience in the area that you want to grow in? A good mentor is one who can guide you in your career and perhaps even teach you aspects about the job or organization you do not know.
Motivated - look for a mentor who is motivated to help you. This person will be eager to give advice that helps you develop your talents.
Positive - pick an individual with a positive outlook because it will rub off on you.
Communication - a good mentor needs to be able to communicate well with others, especially you. This means that they are able to deliver constructive criticism in an effective way.
There are other characteristics you may want to look for in your mentor to be sure you are getting the best match. As well, don’t feel that you have to stay with your mentor if you feel it is a bad match. Mentorship is built around a relationship and that needs to be a positive experience for both of you. Don’t be afraid to change your mentor if you don’t feel it is the right match for you.
A workplace mentoring program is one of the best ways to develop your talents and achieve your goals both professionally and personally. To get the most from your mentorship it is important to be prepared, get a good match and commit yourself to the process.