Are you ready to take on this valuable role? asks Arini Vlotman
Current changes in the business landscape have increasingly isolated the average assistant. With trends like hot desks, virtual assistants and remote working, people in one organisation are literally working all over the world. So, how can you learn and develop in this type of culture? One way to ensure that you stay connected to your organisation is by taking on the role of a mentor. Whether it is a formal, process guided relationship or an informal one that develops over time, becoming a mentor can be a gratifying experience.
Mentoring is mutually beneficial to both the mentor and the mentee as it provides continuous growth and learning as well as stimulating interactions. Taking on a mentorship is a decision that should not be made lightly. Before you take this step, consider the following aspects:
Being a mentor is not a simple transaction. Being an effective mentor calls for maturity, emotional intelligence, patience and most importantly, your full commitment. Do you have the experience and insight necessary to help your mentee navigate the highs and lows of their career? As a mentor, you will need to be honest and provide your own personal experiences, whether good or bad, in order to teach your mentee. This is a big step to take and requires trust from both parties. Just remember that no matter where you are in your career, someone else can always benefit from your experience.
2. Your Mental Wellbeing
The role of mentor encompasses everything from being a friendly listener to being a teacher and role model. Are you currently in a space that allows you to give the amount of energy needed to nurture and guide your mentee? Considering your daily trials, workload and stress, do you have the mental capacity needed to positively uplift another person? Can you remove yourself from your own environment and be fully attentive to your mentee at any given time? Making this mental commitment is the first step to being a star mentor.
3. Expectations from the mentorship
What are your expectations from this role as mentor? This is an in-depth question that only you can answer but remember that while you will not be receiving any remuneration for your time, you will have the pleasure of knowing that you have helped your mentee become a stronger leader. You will also develop your leadership and interpersonal skills while at the same time closing any learning gap that you might be experiencing.
4. Your Capabilities
While you may be enthusiastic to take on the role of a mentor, you need to ask yourself if you can be one. Mentors are closely related to teachers or coaches. You will need to ask the correct questions in order to enable your mentee to think for themselves and learn from the relationship. Your job is one of guidance and support and while there are many ways of doing this, you will need to find the best way that fits your personality.
Mentor with intent. This may sound obvious but before you embark on the mentoring journey, you need to establish what you will be providing to your mentee. Do you want to assist an intern with good behaviour in the workplace? Do you want to pass on the skills you have learnt to younger staff members who are up and coming in your organisation? Has someone approached you to help them with the emotional turmoil of their role? Whatever the reason, establishing your intent will go a long way to affecting how you will manage your mentee.
Just like everything else in life, the relationship between mentor and mentee is ever changing. As such, you will need to ensure that you have equipped yourself with the means to deal with these changes. You may find that your own perspective changes at the same time, giving you fresh ideas and new inspiration.
This journey will allow you to shape the future leaders of your business and positively impact those around you, all while challenging your own aspirations. There is no doubt that the role of the mentor is a valued one, the question is, are you ready to take on that mantle?