Webinar: How to Be a Great Mentor / Mentee
Matthew Reeves: Alright, everyone,welcome to our webinar. Thanks again for everyone who has joined today.
I'm just going to set a couple of ground rules and hand it over to Marcus. If you have any technical difficulties,please don't hesitate to reach out to me through the chat. I am one of the panelists, Matthew.
Also, for any questions that you may have that come up through the webinar, please use the Q&A tool and we'll be sure to address those either as we go through it or towards the end.
With that said, I'd like to pass it over to Marcus, and, yes, this will be recorded and we'll be sharing this afterwards.
Marcus Butters: Thanks, Matt, for the introduction. I want to go off of what Matt said. Thank you, everyone, for joining me today.
I'm excited to share with you a little bit about what it takes to be a great mentor and mentee. If you've been a part of the last few webinars, this one will be a little bit shorter but it's still jam-packed with some great information here and I'm excited to share with you.I guess with that being said, we could get started.
I'll just take you through a quick agenda of what we'll be covering today. First, we'll go into an introduction and then we'll talk about the key components of an effective mentorship relationship.And then we'll dive deeper into how to be a great mentor and how to be a great mentee with some of the other traits that are involved with that.
So, a little bit about myself. My name is Marcus Butters. I've met a few of you that are on the line right now. I'm an Account Executive here at Together and I've worked with a number of companies,getting them set up with a mentorship program to ensure that all their mentorship needs are met.
So we've had some great success but we'll continue into what it takes to be a fantastic mentee and mentor and what it takes to kind of build that awesome relationship.
Here you could see the foundations of a great mentoring relationship. You could see they rely on trust, respect and communication. I'm sure most of you are familiar with that but I want to go a little bit deeper into what that actually means.
The first point I want to highlight is trust. Mentoring is supposed to be an intimate relationship and it really is built on the foundation of trust. And whether you're a mentee or a mentor,you're most likely going to be sharing some sort of personal story or anecdote throughout the duration of your mentorship journey.
Being able to trust a person that you're sharing these stories with is really critical for your professional development and just ensuring that you're able to have meaningful conversations and really be able to discuss things that are important and are going to enhance your career growth or even your personal growth.
A lot of people have some really cool stories to share and it's best that everything is kept between yourself and the person that you're meeting with. It shouldn't be reported back to managers. It shouldn't be reported to other people that are within your organization or within your company. That really is discouraging for mentoring relationships because the mentee or the mentor feels like they can't really be completely honest.
We want to ensure that each party is really able to trust one another and you have to start with that right from the get-go.
Second point of course I'll have to touchon is respect. As we all know, respect is a two-way street, but it's especially important when it comes to building a great mentorship relationship. Not only is it important to respect one another's opinion but you also need to be cognizant of one another's time.
A mentorship relationship can uncover some issues that might evoke some sort of emotion, whether it's happy emotions, sademotions, angry emotions. But it really is paramount that you continue to have the conversation in a meaningful way and really respect whatever the other person is going through or has gone through.
On top of that, ensuring that you're respectful of one another's time is just as important. I'm sure you can all relate to someone no-showing for a meeting, whether it's in a business sense or even just a personal sense. It's a crappy feeling. None of us like to be stood up. It can be especially discouraging when it comes to your professional and personal development.
Not having your mentor show up or not having a mentee show up, someone that you're hoping to guide and provide advice to can really hurt the relationship, especially if that's happening earlier on.
On the mentee side, if you're not showing up to a meeting that's supposed to be focused on your learning and your development, you're really showing the mentor that you're not passionate about what you're doing. You don't really care that much about their time, and that's a great way to ruin a relationship early on.
So respecting one another's time,respecting what they're saying. Everyone is a part of this relationship to help you and help one another. So just keep in the back of your mind that there's nothing else that's involved in that and you should really believe in the person that you're talking to.
Last thing I'll touch on here is communication and it's really obviously important in any sort of relationship,whether it's in your personal life or your professional real life. Both parties really need to be vocal, especially earlier on with what they're hoping to achieve and contribute to each mentorship journey.
As a mentee, it's best to thoroughly communicate what you're hoping to get out of the relationship, what you want todo, what your goals are, what you're looking to improve upon as early as possible. That way your mentor can come to be prepared later on down the road as to what they can teach you, what they can show you, what their best tips are in order to make things work well for you and provide the kind of guidance and support that you really need.
So here you could see a graphic of some of the key components of an effective mentoring relationship. We went over a couple of these but there are a couple more that I wanted to highlight as I found them to be especially important.
One of them is exchanging knowledge.People tend to view mentoring as a one-way knowledge transfer but, in reality,both the mentee and mentor gain a lot from a mentorship relationship. A mentee can help you uncover things in your day-to-day work that you might be able to expedite or make a little bit more efficient, and I'll touch a little bit on what the mentors can actually gain from this relationship in a little bit.
But keeping an open mind as a mentor entering to a relationship is super important. You're not just there to be a teacher or a professor. You're there to provide knowledge to one another and help each other as best as you can. But of course, most of it is trickling down to the mentee.
The second thing that I did want to touch on is passion and inspiration. I feel passion to be an extremely important part of a mentorship relationship. You have to be excited to learn from who you're going to be talking to and both parties need to be really excited about the conversations they're having.
As a mentor, if you go into each meeting kind of lackadaisically and aren't really enthusiastic about what the knowledge is that you're passing down to the mentee, the odds are the mentee isn't going to be excited about implementing those strategies or implementing that advice because they don't see the same passion in your eyes.
So in order to actually provide valuable knowledge, you have to really inspire the mentee. Show them what it takes to get to the position you're in. Show them what you did and talk about it with exuberance. Talk about it with passion and just really ensure that they're excited to use any strategies that you've provided them with.
Moving forward, we'll get into what a mentor actually does. These are the three core pillars of what mentors are there to do. Of course they're there to advise you, they're there to coach you and, last but not least, they're there to support you.
So in terms of advising, they're there to share the institutional and professional wisdom that they've learned throughout their career with whatever company that you are a part of. Or even their experience in past companies and just kind of advise you on what it took for them to get to the position that they're in, what steps did they take, what was their method, what strategies did they use, what worked for them and what didn't.
As a mentor, you also need to be a little bit of a coach, or even a cheerleader. You help the protégé or the mentee learn new skills, best practices, teach them how to create great habits. And the same habits potentially that you use to get where you are. It's always awesome to have someone that has your back cheering you on, making sure that you're ready to go.
If you crushed a big meeting, that's the first person you're going to go and tell about that because you know that they gave you the advice or the strategies or the competencies to crush that meeting. And that’s something that a coach will be very proud of especially as a mentor.
Finally, we'll get into support. This is another major aspect of being a mentor. They're supposed to listen to you with a sympathetic ear, explain the unwritten rules of climbing the corporate ladder and just acknowledge any disappointments and triumphs. So I touched on this a bit under coaches but they're really there through the good and the bad.
You accomplish something that's really amazing, they're going to be super happy for you because they know that they had a hand in it and they're happy that you're learning from the things that they've taught you.
On the other hand, there's going to be downfalls. There's going to be some things that you're going to be disappointed about in your day-to-day job. Maybe you didn't get the raise that you were hoping for. Maybe you didn't get that promotion. But you can go back to your mentor and discuss with them what did I do wrong? What could I have done differently? And that's the support structure you need in any aspect of life in order to grow and really succeed and be the best you that you can be.
So this is a great quote that I found online. I think it makes a ton of sense and I really wanted to share it with all of you. I'll read it out loud.
“A great mentor doesn't just provide guidance and answers during career transitions or sticky situations. They're also there to motivate you and inspire you to help the mentee to get to the next level and fulfill their potential.”
What that means to me is that they're not just someone to go to when you have a tough problem that you can't solve at work or an issue that you're having trouble resolving. They're there for you through the good times, the bad times and to help you be the best employee that you can be and really reach your potential.
What's your aspiration within your career? They want to help you get to that point so you could be happy and proud of where you've gotten to and what you've achieved.
So getting into what it takes to be a great mentor, I've broken it down into five different qualities, and I find them to be extremely important as a mentor.
The first one starts with listening. The most important thing to do, especially at the beginning of a mentorship relationship is listen. You might have all the knowledge and experience in the world, but if it doesn't relate to what the mentee needs, then the knowledge means nothing, the wisdom means nothing.
You need to listen to their needs, what their problems are, what their goals are. And once you have a great grasp on what they're doing or what they want to achieve or where their weaknesses are, that's when you can really have an impact and really deliver that honest feedback and be able to share that knowledge.
‘Honest’ is the key word when it comes to step number two. You're not there to sugarcoat things for the mentee. Of course you need to do things in a respectful manner and be polite about what you're saying. But sometimes, constructive criticism or tough and honest feedback is the best way to get through to someone and ensure that they're able to conquer any of the goals that they're looking to do.
Third, we have motivation and inspiration. Again, I touched on this a little bit earlier. Your job is to get these mentees excited about what they're doing. Tell them the steps you took, how proud you felt after getting that big promotion that you were gunning for eight months to a year, whatever the case is. Tell them that they can do it, that they just have to work hard.
Whatever the case is, you know what your mentee needs. You have to be the one that helps them get to that point and motivates them, whether it's helping them with some of the work they're doing, giving them that verbal encouragement or just showing them the career path that you took, and getting them excited in any sense that you can relate to.
Establishing mutual respect, again, right off the get-go is super important. Knowing what you're both there to do, you're both there to grow and have that professional development. So making sure that you know what one another are looking for, you have to respect each other and make sure that you can relate and be able to encourage each other throughout the entirety of the relationship.
Being present and open especially this day and age is super important. We all have our cell phones. We all have an Instagram, whatever the social media platform you're on is. You shouldn't be flipping through your phone in the middle of a meeting and just nodding along. And this kind of goes for both parties. You need to be in the moment. You need to be listening. You need to be having a true meaningful conversation.
And sometimes it means sharing some of the things that you've done and being really open and transparent. That's the best way to really enhance a relationship and earn that respect of your mentee. Telling them a story about when you failed earlier on in your career because you didn't have a mentor, because no one was there to guide you for the mistakes that you could have avoided.
So being transparent and being vulnerable in that sense is a great way to earn your mentee’s respect and just be able to get them on board with you and trust that you know what you're talking about, you've been there before, you've been in their shoes, you know it's a grind but they can still make things better and they can still get into that job that they're looking to no matter what obstacles lie ahead of them.
So I've compiled a little list here of some do's and don'ts of being a mentor. The list certainly isn't exhaustive. You could go on, on and on with do's and don'ts of being a mentor but I've compiled the top four or five for each column. I just really wanted to share those with you, starting off with setting realistic expectations as a mentor.
Getting into a mentorship relationship, you might have a mentee that's super excited and wants to conquer the world. But let's say you're only in that relationship for six months to a year. That really isn't realistic. You have to keep them humble, keep them honest.
You can provide your protégées access to different resources and different people but make it clear that you're not there to wield your influence over others. You can maybe introduce them to a senior executive but that doesn't mean you're fixing the problem for the protégé. Just because they have an in now with that senior executive doesn't mean that their workloads are going to become lighter, that they're a shoo-in for that next promotion. You can coach but the protégés also have to do the heavy lifting.
Again, we've already touched on this, but listen, listen, listen and then listen some more. I find this to be especially important and that's why I keep reiterating it. You need to hear the concerns of your protégé before offering that advice and guidance. Establish the trust and openness and communication from the start and then you'll be able to help. Then you'll be able to provide that guidance and then they'll know that it is applicable to what they're doing.
Keep an open mind, of course, is especially important as well. Don't do what the mentee should be doing themselves. You need to listen and help, not listen and do for them. So if you're in a situation where you don't necessarily agree with the values or the outlook of what the mentee or the mentor are doing, you still need to listen to what they're saying and be able to kind of empathize with them in that sense.
It also comes down to some of the diversity and inclusion mentoring that I've seen. Let's say you're a man mentoring a woman or a protégé from a different ethnic group. Be aware and respect their experiences, their ideas, their values and their goals. Cross-gender and cross-cultural mentoring relationships can be really enriching and successful but it does require a lot of open dialogue and the ways gender and culture influence your mentee’s work in the organization and the mentoring relationship itself.
So teach your protégés how to become a mentor themselves. I find this to be super important as well. Being a mentor is a great way to be able to help someone transition from being a mentor to a mentor themselves.
Let's say you don't have the exact answer to their question. A great way to teach them to be a mentor is say, “Hey, I don't personally know that. Let's work on this together, figure out an answer.”
Or even delegate the task to them and show them what it takes to dive for things themselves, find it out on their own. And then they can come back to you and actually teach you what they learned and then that way you're both better off knowing what happens.
And that kind of speaks to the first point on the list of don'ts. Don't act like you know more than you do. You don't have to sit there and say, “Yep, I'm the subject expert in this particular field. I know everything,” and then they kind of stump you with a question.
You don't have to make up an elaborate lie. Say you don't know. Move on. Find out the answer later on.
Another important thing to do is not take things lightly. Commit to always giving your best. Both people are there because they chose to be there. No one is making mentoring a mandatory course or a mandatory solution.
So always be receptive to your mentee. Teach them the techniques and methods that they'll need on the job and encourage their productivity and just be that support system that they need, again, for tough times and the fun times.
Don't attempt to solve all your mentee’s problems. This is another big one that I find to be really important. You're not there to complete all their work for them. You're not there to get them the promotion. You're there to help them on the path and help them get over the obstacles that might be in their way. You're not there to get over the obstacle for them and pull them over.
And that goes into saying don't take over. You're supposed to be guiding them. You're not supposed to be doing the work. You want them to learn how to resolve the issues themselves.
Provide them with the necessary tools. You could teach them the basics of time management and organization but you shouldn't be going into their calendar, going into their email and organizing everything for them.
Last thing on the list of don'ts, don't use undue influence. You don't need to use a sense of obligation to influence the mentee’s professional decision. That's not up to you. Whatever the choice for their career is, that's their choice. You shouldn't be telling them or encouraging them to go down a path that they don't want to go into just because you think that would have been better for you.
You could provide them the pros and cons, you could give them the advice or explain from your thought process why you think one decision might be better than another, but using undue influence just isn't fair, because if they aren’t happy with that road that you really pushed them hard towards, that's going to come back to you. And if they're unhappy then you're just not really doing a good job as a mentor. It could have a huge impact on someone's both professional experience and personal experience.
So what's in it for the mentor? There's three key areas to think about when it comes to what the mentor actually gets from a mentoring relationship. First of all, it opens up new informal networks.
When you mentor younger employees, it opens up an informal network across functional units and departments and it actually enhances your ability within the company to meet other people, especially less-tenured people that might be rising up quickly in the ranks. So you have the opportunity to learn from a lot of younger people as well.
But through the relationship with your mentees, mentors could also obtain new work and organizational information. So it could be super impactful for your career to meet some of the protégée’s co-workers or the mentee’s co-workers and be able to learn from them as well, especially at this day and age with how quickly technology is advancing.
We've seen a lot of reverse-mentoring happening. But it doesn't even need to be a formal reverse-mentoring program in order to have that reverse mentoring occur. What could happen is you can meet some new people, someone that's familiar with a software that you don't know about and they could just, maybe in a 30-minute meeting or an hour-long meeting, teach you some things that you would have never known about just through this introduction from your mentee.
Another cool thing that you could obtain from a mentoring relationship as a mentor is learning benefits through reflection. So as a mentor, it's been a while since you were in the mentee shoes. It could be 10 or 15 years in the past and it can help you to remember what some of the hardships were that you experienced and help you not to fall back into those bad habits.
It also shows you why and how you got into that current position and it helps you articulate the vision of what they want next from their career. It really gives you a great opportunity to remember and appreciate how hard you've worked and what you've done to get to the point where you are now. Of course that helps you to work harder and get excited about what is next to come in your career.
You're never going to hit a ceiling if you keep trying to learn and enhance your knowledge and be the best employee that you can be.
Last but not least, it strengthens your workforce. And this is super important. It might not be important for all of you personally but that's something that I hold extremely high in my values. Being able to have an impact on the people I'm working with and really being able to help people grow and just make my company better overall is something that I take a lot of pride in. I think it's something that can actually humble a lot of people.
Through mentoring you help your organization strengthen its workforce, and it’s worth noting your contribution during your own performance review as well.
Mentors can actually gain valuable interpersonal communication skills through the process of mentoring by strengthening the workforce and just being able to say that, “Hey, I helped that person get the promotion and now they're working on this huge project.” That feels good to me because I had a hand in that project now and we're going to make a huge difference with our company.
So those are the three key things that you could think about before you decide whether or not you want to be a mentor. There is something in it for you. It's not just all about the mentee. So be excited and be prepared to be a mentor when the time comes to it.
Moving on to some content here for the mentees, so we have the impact of having a mentor. So first is the knowledge transfer, and this is typically what all mentees get into a mentorship relationship for. But then we have straight talk as well and growth opportunities, so I'll dive into all three of these a little bit deeper and explain to you what I mean by these three points.
So knowledge transfer, of course, is learning. There's a vast repository of experience and knowledge within the network of your mentor. So being able to learn what they've done, who they know, how they met these people, what steps they took to complete certain projects, how they got to a certain point in their career is super important.
Understanding straight talk and the importance of it. I mentioned it a little bit earlier. Mentors aren't there to sugarcoat things for you. The role is to be honest, helpful, provide that support, provide that positive feedback, but they also need to tell you when you're doing things wrong or when you've made a mistake.
Yeah, they can do it in a nice way, but sometimes you might not take it as I'm trying to be nice and it might hurt you or you might feel like they're trying to slight you in some way or another. You need to remember that the reason that they're saying these things is because there's been an issue and they think that you can improve from it. They think you can better yourself from this experience.
So don't take it as an insult or criticism. Keep in mind that it's always for your benefit and that it's going to help you improve and it's not there to make you feel little or small.
The third biggest impact of having a mentor is the growth opportunities. Again, another great reason to get into a mentorship relationship. Your opportunities after a mentoring relationship are honestly endless. You can continue to enroll in numerous more mentorship relationships or you can continue to hone in and perfect the skills and advice that your mentor has already passed down to you.
There's a thing called deliberate practice where it focuses in on making sure you have every step of the advice or guidance that's been passed down to you perfected to a tee. And every single step of that needs to be mastered before you can perfect it and move on to the next skill or piece of advice.
So using those skills and the guidance that you're provided with as a growth opportunity is super important because that's what's going to help you get to your next role or the next milestone in your career, and just really helps you to become the person that you want to be, become the employee you want to be. If you want to become a manager, if you want to lead a project, you're going to do that through the advice and guidance of a mentor who has already done it.
So the goals of a mentee should be focused on three different things. One is professional development, two, committing to continuous learning and, three, building a network. So professional development, as I've touched on a few times here is basically learning how you can improve what you're doing and how you can climb that corporate ladder. You're going to learn that through your mentor and they're going to help you develop all those hard skills and the soft skills you need to be the best person you can be within your profession.
But that's going to take some learning on your end as well so you need to commit to continuous learning. If your company has an LMS program, a learning management system where you can complete courses, that's a huge resource to take advantage of.
Let's say your mentor gives you some advice and says, “Hey, your goal-setting is a little bit off. You're reaching a little bit too high. Let's keep things a little bit more realistic.”
Take a look at your LMS. See if there's a course on goal-setting. Figure out how you can properly set those goals and make sure that you're able to attain them. That way you can conquer those goals, set new goals and continue to flourish within your career and really make that commitment to expanding your learning, expanding your knowledge. That way you could be as well-rounded as possible.
And when it comes time for you to move up in your career, you're already prepared. You already have that knowledgebase and there's no reason for management to say no to giving you that promotion.
Last but not least, building your network. When you meet a mentor, it means they're already probably pretty established within the company and they have a larger network than you most likely do as a lower-level employee. So asking them to introduce you to some of their colleagues or some other people within their network, whether it's their clients, vendors that they work with, anyone that you could really learn from or just have a conversation with to see what their world is like. What does their profession entail? How can I build relationships with people that I may be working with in the future? What are their thought processes? What do they do on a day-to-day basis?
And the more you learn from the people within that network, the better you're going to be able to relate to them and really ensure that you have the confidence to have those conversations right off the bat, right when you get into that new role.
So again, I have some top five qualities here for the mentee, similar to the mentor. It starts off with knowing what you want. Always start asking the mentor what their skill set is. Where is your expertise? And then from there you can get into explaining what you want. Especially right off the bat you have to know. You have to know what your goals are. You have to know what you aspire to be.
The mentor wants to provide more, not less. That's why they're there. They want to help you and they want to encourage you. They want to give you the guidance to get you where you need to be. They don't want to deal with the helpless.
Research is actually really clear that the more specific of an ask, the more potent the assistance that is offered. So be really in-depth about what you're looking to achieve. Don't just say you want to be a manager. Tell them what department you want to be a manager of. Why do you want to be a manager of that department? What gets you excited about that role? Then they can provide that important advice.
They might have some things that you never considered that might turn you off of the role. It's always best to get as much knowledge about what you're looking to do and get that guidance from someone that may have been there before or may have other people in their network that have been there before that they can introduce you to.
Being prepared. And this is extremely important, especially when you're taking someone else's time. Mentors are typically extremely important people and they're making time to meet with you. So the more productive the meeting, the more that they'll feel like it's time well-spent and they'll be excited for the next meeting.
You don't want your mentor to go into each meeting dreading it because you take 10 minutes at the beginning of the meeting fumbling with your notes, not knowing what you're doing, not knowing what you want to accomplish at that meeting.
So be fully prepared. And don't be afraid to have like an agenda laid out or have different talking points for what you want to discuss. Just be ready to go and be personable and be you so that you can get the most out of the relationship, get the most out of each meeting and be ready to take action.
So that brings me into the next point here. Take action on the advice that you're provided with. Run through the doors that are open for you. This is really the meat and potatoes of the mentorship relationship. Take the advice, of course only if you agree with it, and act on it. Then let the mentor know that you're doing so and this will make them excited.
If they open a door for you, visibly sprint through it. Just show them, “Hey, I took that advice. I implemented it. It worked and my boss is super happy. They wrote me a great review.” Or, “I took advantage of some guidance that you gave me and I had the best month out of my whole team.”
There's so many different things that you can show your mentor that you’ve accomplished and done through their advice and that's going to make them more excited to continue to meet with you, to continue to build on that relationship and just really be excited about continuing to meet.
Fourth, we have be hungry but not a head-nodder. I think there's a very fine line between this. So when you get into a mentorship relationship, a lot of people just want to absorb what the mentor is throwing at them. They just continually nod their head like, “Yeah, I agree with what you're saying. I agree with what you're saying.”
But you also need to step back and make sure that this advice actually applies to you and make sure that it's things that you can actually implement in your day-to-day career. There might be things that are a little bit outside of your box that sound great in theory and that you can accomplish, but in reality, in your day-to-day job, it might not be as applicable.
So you shouldn't be just a yes person when it comes to all the advice that's coming through. Don't be afraid to challenge it a little bit and say how can I actually implement that? Where can I do it? What time would this be best to actually use it?
So it's okay to respectfully push back if the mentor doesn't have full context or if you simply don't agree. It's actually just going to build a more meaningful conversation and you can actually dive down to the root of the problem and ensure that both parties are on the same page and you actually have a meaningful relationship.
This kind of layers back to my second point here, but showing gratitude, honesty and respect. I'm not trying to sound like your parents here or anything, and I know you understand this point and I'm sure a lot of you practice it, but research indicates that a surprising number of mentees forget to show gratitude and say thank you at the end of their meetings and aren't always forthright or courteous when they are having these conversations.
So make sure to check your ego at the door. Now is not the time for being prideful or being defensive. Be open to feedback and just be ready to take that advice and be thankful for it. Like I said, the mentors have no obligation to be doing this for you. They're doing it out of the kindness of their heart so don't be afraid to layer on a couple of extra things: thank yous or treat them to a coffee, whatever the case is. Because this is something that is super important to you and it's helping your growth but they're not getting as much out of it as you are.
So showing gratitude is honestly the most important thing you can do in this context and it will help enhance that relationship and build things for you.
I've wanted to dive a little bit deeper into some duration and frequency of your meetings and this is ultimately up to the administrators of how long they want to have your mentorship program going for. But at certain points, it comes down to what you want to do and how often you want to meet.
So right now with COVID going on, people have a lot more time. There's no commute to your meetings. You guys can dive deeper into a mentorship. You could have multiple meetings a week.
I know a lot of people haven't been busy since everything's been going on. There's a little bit more free time while working from home. Feel free to have multiple calls a week with your mentor and talk about specific things that have gone on during the week. You can make it minimum once every two weeks and just have that sort of guidance continuously going on.
And for the admin, you could encourage your more senior mentors to be taking on multiple mentees and it could be a great way to build that network, build that connection within the company.
Another thing I wanted to touch on that I think is super important as well is different mentorship meeting tips. The one that I find to be most important is shadowing because that's how you actually learn as a mentee. And as a mentor, it can be a really cool experience for you too because there might be things that the mentee notices about your day-to-day job that they can help actually make a little bit more efficient.
It's actually very easy to do while working from home. We all have Zoom or Microsoft Teams, whatever the case is. And it's very easy to add someone in, share your screen, whatever the case is.
So if you're working on a project, you could just share your screen and just have your mentee muted and just make sure that they're watching what you're doing, seeing the steps that you're taking. And then a really cool thing to do, whether the mentee is shadowing the mentor or vice versa, you can have a Q&A later on in the day to answer any questions that the mentee might have or, for the mentee, you can do a performance review.
So if they were on a sales call or and in a meeting, you could give them tips that you've written down while shadowing that call and have a follow-up call at the end of the day and say, “Hey, here's where you could improve. Here's what you need to do better. This aspect of it was fantastic. I think you should continue with that and maybe even put more emphasis on it.”
Again, shadowing I think would be the best thing that you can implement right now and it's very easy to do. So I'd continue to ride with that as much as you can since we aren't able to meet face-to-face.
But that is it for the webinar. I really appreciate everyone joining me today. I hope that was helpful and I hope there was some content that you can apply to your day-to-day mentorship relationships. I'd love to answer any questions that anyone might have and be able to explore those from here. We have about 10 minutes left for the calendar invitation, so if anyone has questions, feel free to reach out.
I see a message here from Sarah. My initial meetup with our mentor or mentee, what red flags should I look out for to know that my pairing wasn't a good fit? Ideally, I want to go into this experience with the best possible outcomes.
That's a great question. I would suggest getting into the first meeting and just kind of asking them questions about what they've done to get where they are. If they aren't able to go too in-depth into what they've done to get themselves there, the odds are they might not be able to provide the best guidance or advice for you since they can't really recall what they've done.
So digging into what the mentor’s experience is, how forthcoming they are with providing that information to you right off the bat would be a huge red flag for me. I'd want to know right away, “Hey, what steps did you take to becoming a director or manager? What was the hardest thing you've done to get there?”
And if they don't have an elaborate answer or a long answer where they go into a lot of detail, later on down the road they're not going to be as excited or prepared to give you the advice that you need when it comes to certain obstacles that you're looking to overcome.
And then another question with Sarah. Do you think pairing younger-in-age mentors with older-in-age mentees will pose a problem?
I mean it might. It definitely can, but I think it depends on the people that are actually paired together. I’m sure there are a lot of older mentors that understand that they're not fully capable in a lot of things that some of the younger employees might be proficient in.
So I think you really need to understand the employees that you're matching when it comes to that. Typically, what we see is mentors will be of older age. But if you have the buy-in from the older employees, I don't think that poses an issue at all. You just need to make sure that that is articulated before the matching is done.
I'd say reach out to that older mentee and say, “Hey, are you comfortable with being paired with someone that's younger than you?”
They have a lot of experience, they have a lot to offer and I think they could help you in your career. If they're passionate about learning it won't be an issue for them. If it's something that they're just kind of doing because they think they could get a leg up in the company then they might take issue with it and might not want to pursue with that match.
So I think discussing it before you do that pairing would be the most beneficial thing you could do.
A question from Janet. What recommendations do you have for introverted mentees who are motivated to move up but have difficulties opening up or connecting with the mentor?
That's a great question. I'd encourage introverted mentees to really just trust the process. I know it's tough to say but you have to be comfortable getting into that relationship. And again, just start off with asking questions.
And once you encourage them to join and meet with someone, chances are they're going to like that person. It just comes to evolving the conversation. At least put together, we do have agendas that are prepared so things aren't awkward at first, so it makes it easy to engage in those conversations, discuss what goals you're looking to achieve. And once they get a little bit more comfortable, they could come out of their shell a little bit.
So my best advice would be to just kind of understand that the mentor is there to help you and they're not there to judge you. They're not there to put you down. That's something that you can articulate to any of the introverted mentees within your company is that this whole process is meant for you to move up and meant for you to become more comfortable in the position that you're in or new positions that you might be taking on.
So don't be shy when it comes to actually engaging with that person because, at the end of the day, their primary focus with this relationship is to make you better and to help you.
I hope that answers your question, Janet.
The lockdown is affecting mentoring relationship. I meant those who already started.
I'm not sure what that is referring to. I apologize.
So a question from Rosina. It’s seen as ideal to get senior-level mentors that are often time-poor. How do you recommend selling the mentoring to the senior mentors so they sign up and take on mentees?
That's another great question. So that's something that we do see often is the struggle of getting the more senior mentors on board and ensuring that they have the time. I'd suggest just relaying to them that they've had mentors in the past, whether it's formal or informal. Anyone in a director position, you could look at Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and any of the top executives, Mark Zuckerberg, and I've read a number of articles on this situation itself, and they’ve all explained that there's been someone in their life who has gotten them to the point that they are.
So my best tip or best tactic for getting these more senior directors on board would be to kind of probe them a bit and say, “You know, why don't you want to do mentorship? I understand that you’re time-poor but you don't have 30 minutes for a call once a month after work? How would you feel if the person that you reached out to for advice when you were a younger employee, if they weren't able to take that phone call? Would you be in the position you were then?
And just kind of dig deeper and evoke emotion in that conversation. That would be, I'd say, a great way to get them on board. I know it comes to more personable relationship with that person.
And Matthew on the line might be able to help me out a bit better with this, but it is a tough sell. But just ensuring that they see the value in it and telling them what they can gain as well is tough, but there is an opportunity for them to learn as well. They can just reflect as to how they got to their positions, strengthened the workforce.
Especially with directors, why wouldn't you want your whole employee base to be doing the steps that you took to get to where you are? Especially as a director, you've done a lot. You've had a great impact on the company. Why not pass down the knowledge you have to someone else so that they can have the same impact that you've had and really strengthen the workforce and really grow as a company?
Matthew: To add on what Marcus said, certainly on a personal one-to-one level, what he said makes a ton of sense.
More organization-wide, I think it does have to come top-down and be somewhat part of the culture to expect mentorship and employee development. I know at organizations that I've worked in the past, it's been part of the performance review of senior employees to undertake employee development, and that's part of their compensation. It's also something that's pushed down from leadership in that organization.
Marcus: Thanks, Matt. We have a question from Janet. What are your thoughts on peer-to-peer mentoring or peer group mentoring?
I think it's fantastic. A lot of the information that I've learned and in my young career here has been from colleagues, people that are going through the same thing that I am. Everybody has their own tactics, their own strategies and it doesn't necessarily have to come from someone who's more tenured because they're a little bit removed from it anyway. You can go to people that are in the same role as you and someone could have a completely different workflow as to what you have.
So learning from one another, learning from your peers is great because it's relevant. You're all on the same page, you’re all going through the same grind. And sharing different experiences, explaining how you overcame different obstacles could be super enlightening and share a lot of knowledge between the two of you, or multiple if you want to do peer group mentoring. That way, you'll have everybody essentially on the same page within a similar team or a similar group or department.
And if you put everybody's best practices together and they all start implementing those best practices, you're going to have a well-oiled machine essentially. Everyone's going to be on the same page, taking the same strategy, only using what works because everybody knows what doesn't work already.
So I'd say it's a great opportunity for any department, any function to have peer-to-peer or peer group mentoring. It really is a no-brainer in my opinion.
Another question from Janet. Also, no, don't apologize for the question, Janet. I love answering them.
So also, do you recommend having a variety of mentoring programs? Or which mentoring relationship: peer-to-peer, group or one-on-one is most impactful based on your experience?
To answer the first question, I would recommend having a variety of mentoring programs. I think offering as many different programs to your employees is probably the best way to go about it because everybody has their own personal needs that they identify with. So some people might not be comfortable with a one-to-one mentorship relationship with a more tenured employee. They might be introverted and feel a little bit nervous about that, like we discussed earlier.
Peer-to-peer is a great opportunity to uncover that and maybe take that next step to a one-to-one mentorship with someone who's more tenured. Like I said, I really think peer-to-peer mentorship is a great opportunity for everyone involved.
Group mentoring is also extremely important, especially if you have a facilitator that might be a little bit more tenured with a younger group. There's the ability for them to bounce questions off that person. They can act as a sounding board or they can provide support, guidance or advice where needed.
And when you have it in a group setting, everybody's getting that information at the same time. And then when they go to implement those tactics, they can go to their person in their group-mentoring team and say, “Hey, I tried this out but it didn't work. Like how's it going for you? What advice do you have for me? What's worked for you? What hasn't?”
And then they can hash that out before their next session. They could bring it back to their group-mentoring mentor and say, “Hey, we discussed this. We tried this,” and they can take it from there.
I wouldn't say any of them are more impactful than the others. I think it just depends on what your employees need and what they want and what they're looking to really gain from the situation or from what they're enrolling in. It really is important to understand what the employee is looking for and what they want so that they can grow as much as they can and really have an impact on the company.
Do you have any resources available to share on how to implement all these types of mentoring programs? Yeah, Janet, we could absolutely share that with you afterwards. We do have some content there.
Seems like _____ [00:54:04]
So, yeah, it looks like those are all of the questions. And Janet, we’ll follow up with some resources on how to implement different types of mentoring programs and we could talk further on that. If there are no other questions, I really wanted to thank everyone. We’re at our 45-minute time limit here.
Looks like—sorry, one more question has popped in. We're piloting a mentorship program, education nonprofit. Do you recommend we assign one to two mentees to each mentor? What makes Together the best platform for us moving forward?
So, for the number of mentees per mentor, it is very dependent on how much the mentor can take on. If they are only able to take on one, I wouldn't push them to take on two because they're going to be spread too thin.
They all have their own jobs that they're working on right now. So making sure that the mentor is comfortable with taking on more than one mentee is super important. You have to actually have that conversation with the person, in my opinion. Putting too much pressure on them to meet with too many people, it can become burdensome and then they might just not want to have any part of the program.
If they get spread too thin, they feel like it's making them too tired and they don't have the energy to take on two people, one of them might be left in the dust after a few weeks or they might just stop working with both mentees.
So I'd have that conversation with them. I'd suggest one to start off with, and then if the mentors feel comfortable adding on additional mentees then you could certainly go for it from there.
In terms of what makes Together the best platform for you moving forward, we could definitely take that conversation offline, Alicia, and we'll have that conversation. We could show you what we're about, how we differentiate from some of our competitors.
It looks like that is all of the…one more, sorry.
Do you have any advice for administrators to keep momentum going throughout the mentoring program?
My advice would be email reminders, reaching out to people individually. We have a customer that is very hands-on when it comes to administering their programs and they'll take a look at their reporting for their registrants or for the people that are participating.
And if they see that people have been slacking and haven't met in a couple of months when they should have been, they'll actually give that person a phone call and say, “Hey, why haven't you been meeting with your mentee,” Or, “Why haven't you been meeting with your mentor?”
It does take a more hands-on approach in order to do this, but you have to kind of understand what people are going through and make sure that they still have the time and availability to continue with that.
I'd say just email reminders, any sort of reminder that you can provide if you have the data that they're not meeting.
Another thing that we see is like midway-point workshops. So halfway through your mentorship program, make a mandatory call or a mandatory meetup when everyone's able to meet in groups again. And go through maybe a core competency of the company or a core value or a core skill and host a workshop on that to keep everyone engaged.
Once they go to that program, they're going to see their mentee or their mentor there and say, “Hey, we haven't met in a couple of months. We need to get back on track. We're here. Let's schedule our next session now.” So I think that's another great tactic to do that.
Matthew might be able to add on to that. I'm not sure if he has any other advice when it comes to keeping momentum going for mentoring programs.
Matthew: No, I think you got the key ones, the reminders and certainly the workshops are what I've seen work best in the past. Like there's two approaches. You can leverage software to help automate some of this, but the most successful programs still have a dedicated administrator who's on top of that. Has a bit of a human touch and reaches out to people, understands why they're not meeting and makes adjustments.
Marcus: Thanks, Matt.
Great. It looks like those are all of the questions that have been asked. For everyone that's left on the line, really appreciate you joining today. Like we said, we'll be sending this out to all of the registrants afterwards so you will have full access to this webinar and you can continue to review it as you continue your mentorship relationships.
I hope you all have a great rest of your week and stay safe and stay healthy please. Thank you.