Posts Tagged ‘mentoring relationship’

Stephen R. Covey

July 17, 2012

Stephen R. Covey was probably best known as the author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.  Covey’s passing was announced in the media yesterday.  And while his broad smile and positive approach to personal development and leadership will be missed, Covey will continue to touch the lives of others through his writings and teachings.

One of the skills that I strive to pass along when training new mentors and mentees is active listening.  Covey once said, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”  So true!  It’s a simple skill that each of us can focus on and improve.  Let’s take the time to really listen to those around us – our co-workers, family members, mentors, and mentees.  It’s amazing how relationships are strengthened and how much we can learn and do when we actively listen!

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Women and Mentoring Feedback

June 14, 2012

Mentors and mentees in a local mentoring program recently provided feedback on their mentoring experience over this past year.  The value of mentoring was highly rated by both the mentors and the mentees.  As always, high number ratings were gratifying to see, but the comments offered the most insight.  One mentee found value in “having time set aside to discuss the issues I have with my work-life balance and business challenges with a neutral third party.”  Said one mentor, “I felt like I was able to provide meaningful advice that was helpful during a time of change within her organization.”  And their biggest challenge over this past year?  Finding the time (or making the time) to meet was mentioned most often by both mentors and mentees.  Surprised?  I’m not.  However, there are so many ways that mentors and mentees can connect and still have a meaningful relationship without taking large chunks of time away from other priorities.  I enjoyed hearing from the mentor who told me that they always walk when they talk, multi-tasking whenever they meet.

Mentoring Through Social Media – Part II

March 1, 2012

I have a love/hate affair with social media, as mentioned in my previous blog.  For me, mentoring is personal.  One of my challenges with putting mentoring out in social media is finding a way to personalize the interchange so a mentoring relationship can be formed and flourish.   For many people, mentoring = 1:1, face-to-face contact.  (I am one of those people.)  I do belong to an online mentoring network, but I haven’t seen any action there for some time.  To find out more, I posted a challenge question to the group.

I asked, “How helpful is this LinkedIn mentoring group for you?  As a learning and development professional with a passion for mentoring, I would to like hear from students and other alumni.  How can we get involved to make a difference for all of you?”  Three days went by with no response.  I tried again.  This time I said, “In my post last week, I said that I would like to hear from students and alumni, but the silence is deafening so far.”  Then, about a dozen comments streamed in – all from alumni, one of who was actually matched with a student!  There were lots of good suggestions for how to get more students involved.  As a result, we were assured by the group facilitator that we would be seeing some changes.  But how useful will it be, really?  We’ll see…

National Mentoring Month

January 30, 2012

President Obama declared January to be National Mentoring Month.  As a result, mentoring has been highlighted in many ways throughout the month.  I especially appreciated hearing personal success stories from several mentors and mentees during the month.  But, hey, January is almost over!  (How did that happen?)  Mentoring goes on all year – not just in January!  Mentors will continue to share their knowledge and experience to guide and coach others; while mentees will continue to seek out individuals who can contribute to their personal and professional development.  If you’re not in a mentoring relationship now, feel free to contact me to find out how you can get involved as a mentor or mentee – or both.  Don’t wait until next January.  The amount of time and effort is small, but the rewards are great!

Matching Mentees with Their Mentors

October 15, 2011

I am often asked how matches are made within the Mid-Day Mentoring Program that was mentioned in my previous blog entry.  In the Mid-Day Mentoring Program, both mentors and mentees complete confidential questionnaires.   Mentees rank areas of focus that they would like to receive mentoring in.  These areas of focus are the starting point for the match.  Mentors are then selected for each mentee based on their knowledge and experience, as indicated in their completed questionnaires.  Of course, there is also some “matching magic” involved!  That’s when hobbies and other common interests are considered to ensure that both the mentee and mentor will find elements on which to build a fulfilling mentoring relationship.  I recently received the following e-mail message from one of the mentors:  “met with my mentee today…  lovely woman… luv her… you did a great match… i think it’s mutual…”  I ask you, now how cool is that?!!

Mentoring to Make a Difference

September 25, 2011

October 22 will be Make a Difference Day.  On that Saturday, each of us is urged to reach out and do something good for others.  David Gregory of Meet the Press wrote an article for today’s USA Weekend.  He urges each of us to do something that will make a real difference for someone.  In the article, Gregory describes the powerful mentoring relationship he has with a young man from Haiti.  He says, “I feel as if it’s a real fulfillment of my potential.”  The simple act of mentoring involves giving of ourselves and our time to another person and is the most valuable gift we can bestow.

There are lots of things we can do to make a difference for others on that one day or over the course of many months.  Think about what you will do – become a mentor, shop for a shut-in, read to a child, volunteer at a local animal shelter, or whatever fits with your time and talents.  We’ll all be better for it.

Mentoring for Educational Success

August 31, 2011

Mentoring is alive and well in our schools.  Tomorrow is the first day of September and the first day school for the children in our neighborhood.  Teachers have been busy preparing classrooms and lesson plans.  Parents have done the usual shopping for school supplies and other needed gear.  But, mentoring has been receiving recognition as an important part of the back-to-school preparations this fall.  Because of the large number of teacher retirements last year, mentoring is more important than ever for new teachers.  In some districts, new teachers with no prior teaching experience have each been paired with an experienced teacher as a mentor to help him or her get off to a good start, to answer questions, and to provide ongoing feedback on classroom techniques throughout their first year.  New teachers with prior teaching experience are assigned a “buddy” for their first week.  At the high school, incoming freshmen are matched with an upper classman as a mentor to help with finding classrooms, to complete assigned challenges, and to attend special events together.  All of these mentoring matches are made to contribute to the success of this upcoming school year.  One of my neighbors says, “It’s working!”  She and her mentor are already learning and off to a great start!

Let me know if you have other mentoring examples for me to share!

By Request – Mentor Responsibilities

August 9, 2011

Last week, I responded to a request that I republish the Mentee Responsibilities that I had listed in a blog entry a couple of years ago.  To be fair, I am now putting the Mentor Responsibilities out again as well.  Every successful mentoring relationship depends on the contributions of both parties – Mentor and Mentee.  So whether you are mentoring an individual as part of a formal mentoring program within an organization or you are mentoring someone informally, you want to fulfill your responsibilities in that relationship.  Those responsibilties include:

  • Draft mentoring objectives for yourself and plan to share these with your Mentee at one of your first meetings.
  • Meet regularly.  As the Mentor, you should set up the first meeting for yourself and your new Mentee.  Your Mentee can set up a schedule of regular meetings for both of you after that.
  • Be an active listener.  Ask questions to better understand.
  • Encourage your Mentee to take charge of his/ her own action planning, learning, and development.
  • Offer feedback or advice, when requested.
  • Ask for feedback, i.e. “Was this meeting helpful?”
  • Maintain confidentiality.  Discussions and the topics of those discussions are between you and your Mentee and are not to be shared outside of the mentoring relationship.

Being aware of your responsibilities as a Mentor will get the relationship with your Mentee off to a great start and help both of you learn and grow.

By Request – Mentee Responsibilities

August 2, 2011

Making relationships work takes, well, work.  I’ve been asked to repeat the listing of Mentee Responsibilities that I had included in a much earlier blog.  As a mentee, you want to do your part in building a strong mentoring relationship.  So, whether you have been matched with a mentor through an organizational mentoring program or whether you have taken the initiative to find your own mentor, begin by taking these steps.

  •  If you haven’t done so already, prepare a draft of your objectives for the relationship.  You will want to share these with your mentor at one of your first meetings.
  • Take charge of your learning and development.  Once the two of you have agreed on meeting frequency, offer to schedule future meetings with your mentor.  Plan informal agendas for each meeting, based on the objectives you have developed.
  • Solicit your mentor’s opinions and advice on projects, observations, career direction, or other issues.
  • Be an active listener.
  • Let your mentor know of any outcomes that result from a meeting discussion.  They will appreciate your follow up.
  • Thank your mentor for providing advice, assisting with an action plan, or just listening.
  • Maintain confidentiality.  Discussions and the topics of those discussions are between you and your mentor and are not to be shared outside of the mentoring relationship.

Taking on your mentee responsibilities will get your relationship with your mentor off to a great start and help you achieve your
objectives.

The Importance of Organizational Coaching

June 19, 2011

Coaching is often confused with mentoring.  Coaching is focused on development of a skill, functional knowledge, or area of interest, while mentoring is built on a relationship.  A mentor may provide coaching, but a coach may not always be a mentor. 

The cover of the June 2011 issue of T&D magazine proclaims, “Mentoring & Coaching: Know the Roles, and Make Every Conversation Count”.   The first lead article in this issue puts the spotlight on mentoring.  (See my June 10 blog.)  The second lead article puts the spotlight on coaching and is titled, “The 5 Hidden Roles of the Managerial Coach”.  The author, Robert Barner, states that managers need to be able to “build trust, listen effectively, provide clear performance feedback, and model effective leadership behaviors.”  In addition, he suggests the following 5 coaching roles.

  1. Organizational Translator – providing insight into the organization and what it takes to succeed.
  2. Performance Consultant – making the connection between organizational performance and personal development.
  3. Developmental Assessor – leveraging developmental assignments and identifying milestones.
  4. Cognitive Mentor – modeling and discussing the competencies needed for success.  (I strongly disagree with the use of the word “Mentor” here.  Barner goes on to describe a coaching strategy and coaching actions that managers can take to address business issues and problems.  There is no mention of the trust and relationship building necessary for mentoring.  Cognitive Coach would be a better choice for naming this role.)
  5. Brand Advisor – assessing and building an understanding of the overall image projected to others within the organization.

These articles are both great reads.  Pick up the latest issue of T&D or read it on the web.