We’ve all heard about how workplace mentorship programs are effective at helping mentees adjust to new positions, overcome obstacles, and ultimately advance in their careers. But did you know that mentorship programs significantly benefit mentors as well? Being a mentor can lead to advances in pay grade, promotions, and higher retention rates. In addition, it helps mentors gain fresh perspectives by staying up to date with the network and happenings in more junior levels of an organization.
Here are five tips to help you find a mentee and foster a fruitful mentoring relationship.
1. Determine what you can give, and what you want out of the relationship.
Mentoring is a two-way, give and take relationship. Before you start searching for a compatible mentee, it’s important to first decide how much time you can commit to mentoring, your areas of expertise, and what type of mentoring relationship you’d like. Perhaps you’d like to focus on mentoring people with a similar background as you, so you can draw on your expertise to encourage them in the face of new challenges.
Once you’ve determined what you can give, consider how you’d like your future mentee to add value to the relationship. For example, this can be through the form of reverse mentoring, where your mentee can teach you about new technologies and emerging trends.
2. Start searching within your organization.
One of the most convenient places to start looking for a prospective mentee is right within your org! These days, more and more companies are instituting their own mentorship programs to help ease the transition for new hires, foster leadership opportunities for more seasoned employees, improve retention, and overall employee experiences. Taking part in your company’s mentorship program is a sure-fire way to find a mentee, with the added benefit of guidance from the organizers.
That said, not every company offers a structured mentorship program and that’s okay. Searching within your organization is still an effective first step. Perhaps you’ll be staffed on a project with a more junior employee and find that your team-working styles are very compatible. Or maybe you’ll connect with prospective mentees at a company social.
3. Broaden your search and join professional, networking, or co-working groups.
While looking for a mentee within your organization is a great way to start, perhaps you’d like to expand your reach and meet someone not at work. In our now hybrid world, there are a lot of options to meet people with common goals and interests. LinkedIn is one of many channels where you can find groups tailored to your priorities. For example, you can find pages specifically for women mentoring women, BIPOC mentoring groups, networking platforms within certain industries, and more. If you prefer more of a face-to-face relationship, consider finding a co-working space and getting to know those around you, or attending a conference that interests you.
4. Keep an open mind in your everyday life.
We’re all drawn to people with whom we share commonalities. It’s natural. While meeting prospective mentees through work is one of the most tried methods, keep an open mind to meeting people any and everywhere. Your prospective mentee might appear when you least expect – while you’re at your weekend running group, golf club, pottery class, or other interest!
Since this isn’t as intentional as attending networking events, try to ease into the relationship by offering tidbits of advice or your own personal anecdotes here and there. By casually offering tips, the other person will begin to feel progressively comfortable opening up to you and may start to seek your guidance more frequently.
5. Agree on goals and expectations from the get-go with your mentee.
So, you’ve found a mentee, great! Now how can you hit the ground running on this newly formed relationship? It’s important to establish expectations early on to make sure you’re both on the same page. Make sure to discuss topics like frequency of meetings, preferred communication methods, what you’re both hoping to get out of the relationship, how each of you can add value to the other, and more. Consider making an agreement – formally or informally! While you may be wondering “do I really have to do that?”, establishing these ground rules at the beginning can prevent misunderstandings down the road and help you keep a mutually beneficial relationship.
Are you ready to become a mentor and take the next step in your professional journey? You’re in luck! Mentorship Moment offers everything from actionable tools to coaching exercises to help you approach your next prospective mentor-mentee relationship with confidence. Let us help you to help others and have a fruitful relationship with your mentee. Reach out to us so we can learn how to best support you!
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