We know why mentoring is important and why it works, but how do you make a mentoring relationship successful?
The key is to remember that it’s a 2-way street.
Many forget that mentoring is a relationship, and just like in any relationship – communication, trust, fit and motivation are central to its success. Similarly, it's important to recognize that mentorship is a process. Don't rush into anything; take time to find your mentor/mentee. Some questions you may ask yourself in the process are:
- Can you connect with her/him?
- Do you feel comfortable being candid with them?
- Do you know why you are looking to enter a mentorship?
- What do you offer as a mentor/ what do you need as a mentee?
- What is your end goal?
Mentorships can be short term or long term, but it’s important to establish a timeframe and plan at the beginning. Revise this planning. Open communication is the basis of a successful mentorship. Throughout the process you will not only have to give and receive constructive criticism, but also re-evaluate your goals and feasibility as you move along in the process. If effective, the process should change as you advance towards your goal.
January is National Mentoring Month, a time for us to think about the impact we can have on our youth and how to give back to our community. Mentoring however, has many shapes and formats that can be applicable at many different stages of your career. It’s up to you to choose the one that works best for you and to manage your own mentorship, whether that you are a mentee or mentor.