If you are interested in becoming a mentor, the following tips may prove useful.
* The mentee has no direct-line reporting to the mentor. This fosters trust and the mentee feels more comfortable in sharing uncertainties about his or her abilities, creating free-flowing, open communication.
* The mentor/mentee relationship is mutually satisfying. The mentor gets the satisfaction of watching someone grow as a result of his or her insights. The mentee gains a feeling of being valued, receiving beneficial direction and attention from someone who they respect and admire.
* The intensity of the relationship is matched. It is taking up actual and mental time in proportions with which both people are comfortable. This time commitment is flexible as the mentee’s needs change (e.g. there may be several meetings in a short period of time during a very challenging period, then none for months).
* At any time, either party can stop the relationship and the mentoring process. There is no obligation for continuance.
* The mentee is not a protégé. It is not a teacher-pupil relationship, nor does the mentee (necessarily) have the patronage of the mentor.
* An effective mentor gives wise counsel, and the mentee feels comfortable speaking on issues that may be sensitive. Once this trust is developed, the mentor can give advice or assist with tough recommendations.
* The mentor is not mentoring two people at the same time who have a close working relationship. Discretion and confidentiality are paramount. The rules of engagement are stated up front with an agreement between the mentor and the mentee on who should be aware of the mentoring relationship.
* The obligation for continuing is two-sided. When the mentor feels they have value to add and the mentee is getting something from the relationship, the mentoring may go on indefinitely or either side can end it without justification.
* Mentoring programs are about guidance and facilitation rather than formal training.
Becoming a mentor is a personal choice. Learning to effectively provide performance coaching is a necessary skill for retaining top talent within the management and front-line employee ranks. It is critical that leadership within organizations do everything in their power to give management the skills they need to successfully get results through people and processes.