by Diksha Dua, Leadership and Career Coach
As a neuroaffirmative career and leadership coach, I am often asked to reflect on the mentor-mentee relationship. Mentorship is a two way street and both mentors/mentees can benefit tremendously from it. Communication, respect and willingness to learn are key anchors for both roles.
I love this interview between Justin Kauflin and encore.org CEO Marc Freedman highlighting the relationship between Justin Kauflin and jazz legend Clark Terry. It highlights both vulnerability and humility as the cornerstone of their mentor-mentee relationship. It inspires by the sheer willingness on both their parts to share common ground and be inspired together. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6WxIStAo18
Here are some tips, for mentors and mentees, to help their relationship thrive.
How to be a proactive mentee:
- Identify your goals and network: Don’t be afraid to reach out for support in a specific area of your career: strengthen your knowledge in the industry, become a strong communicator, practice leadership skills etc. Clarity on your goals and personality will help you find a compatible mentor. Networking professionally and personally can get you exposure to multiple individuals across organizations. Consider individuals that you respect, have a connection with and are able to trust.
- Reach Out: Being proactive is the name of the game. Develop a concise message that highlights your ask and explain why you would value their guidance. Build flexibility into the message to help co-create what this engagement would look like (virtual/hybrid connections, duration of meetings, cadence of meetings etc.)
- Don’t forget to be you: Bring your authentic self to this conversation and build vulnerability into this discussion. Practice sharing your strengths and also spaces that you’re struggling with at work so you can get relevant advice.
- Gratitude: Build acknowledgement and moments of gratitude for insights and recommendations received from your mentor. Share feedback on advice that you implemented or experimented with so that your mentor knows their guidance is valued.
- Respect your time: Value your shared time by scheduling appointments in advance, setting reminders and leveraging a system that works for you to track key take-aways.
How to be a proactive mentor:
- Listen, Listen and Listen some more: Be an active listener and ask questions about their needs, goals and challenges. Be aware of your own projections or assumptions within each context or challenge shared.
- Focus on their goals: Provide feedback in a constructive manner within the context of their goals. Focus on actionable advice and specific areas of improvement. Be generous with your knowledge and transparent about your limitations as well.
- Set realistic expectations and accountability: A great mentor helps ensure accountability and helps establish realistic expectations for each goal. Identify key supports needed and boundaries on what the mentee can expect from you.
- Encourage and facilitate: Support and nurture your mentee’s own decision-making skills and independence. Offer resources, connections and networking opportunities for your mentee to grow.
- Respect your time: Respect your shared time with your mentee and be prepared to support. Ensure you are responsive, engaged and can give them your full attention.
If you or someone else you know is struggling with questions about work, building a productive career or nurturing relationships (colleagues/mentors/mentees) please reach out to email@example.com to book your sessions with me, Diksha Dua. I look forward to working with you and supporting you with your goals! (P.S. – Keep an eye out for my next blog post on impulse control in the workplace)
#intergenerational #marcfreedman #cogenerate #mentorship #possibilitiesclinic #adhdawarenessmonth #careercoaching #neurodiversity #leadershipcoaching