04 Jan, 2022

5 Ways To Be A Better Mentor

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Written by
Amit Volinits
From Yoda to Steve Jobs, there have been some memorable mentors in history, both fictional and real. A lot of people try to give back once they’ve become successful and one great way of doing this is by mentoring others to be as successful as they are. 

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” – Lao Tzu

Although it’s similar to teaching, mentoring is a lot more complex and relies on the mentor having certain special skills for it to be successful. Read on for 5 ways to become a better mentor and coach your mentee to success effectively. 

Keep improving your skills

After achieving success in a certain field or area, it’s important that you continue to study the field and learn more about it, especially if you’re going to be mentoring someone else

Things change and you can’t be a good mentor if you’re not up-to-date on anything new happening in your field. It can be as simple as scrolling through news articles, taking a refresher course, or listening to Ted Talks or podcasts, but it will certainly increase your skills and benefit your mentee.

Celebrate your mentee’s wins

During the course of most mentorships, a mentor and mentee usually discuss difficulties the mentee is facing on their journey to success and how to overcome failure. There will also be more positive discussions, like progress that the mentee has made or something significant they’ve achieved.

No matter how small the win, you should praise them for it and celebrate it. Acknowledging little successes along the way helps them feel more confident and have the confidence to keep going. 

Be honest

The journey to success is seldom an easy one and a good mentor should be upfront about the challenges they faced on their own path when advising a mentee.

This not only gives them consolation that any failures they face are not unique to them or an indication of a lack of effort on their part, but also encourages them to keep pushing ahead because you’re living proof that there’s success on the other side of failure. It’s also important to be truthful when you feel like your mentee isn’t putting in enough work towards achieving their goals.

Give them everything they need

There are different types of mentors, with the most basic being those who simply advise a mentee and check in on their progress from time to time. The best way you can help a mentee is by giving them all the information and resources they’ll need to succeed.

It’s not enough to tell them to simply research for themselves, because you’ll know best what resources helped you or could have made things easier for you than someone who’s still learning the ropes. You can search for classes, courses and other sources of information that you know will be beneficial to them so they won’t waste their time on something that might not be helpful. 

Polish up your people skills

The key to a good mentor-mentee relationship is communication. If you improve your communication skills, you’ll be able to guide your mentee in the most effective way possible without coddling or alienating them.

Good emotional intelligence helps with this too, especially when things get difficult and they keep failing. You’ll need to know when to push them harder without breaking them and when to slacken the reins without making them complacent. 

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin

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