April '20

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10 THE SHOP APRIL 2020 10 THE SHOP APRIL 2020 The mentee should not only be willing to learn from people who have been there before, but they should also be willing to share their own skills or talents to benefit the mentor. careers," says Goruk. "They are willing to share their bad as well as their good work/ life experiences, pointing out the mistakes that they and others have made." Such openness requires self-confidence. "A mentor must be able to trust people," says Star. "Not everyone has that capability. Some people feel threatened by the act of sharing their talent, because they feel they might be replaced. And a mentor may also be afraid of losing their edge if the mentee should communicate the shared informa- tion with others." Great mentors avoid grinding a personal philosophical axe that might warp the learning process. "A good mentor is completely objective about the company and is not trying to push a personal agenda," says Weiss. "He or she looks out for the best interests of the mentee, in a way that is consistent with the company's strategy." Finally, great mentors are not only willing to perform the required work, but also have the time to do so. And they must have a genuine interest in a mentee's success. Are mentors born or made? "Both," says Weiss. "While you may be able to easily find some people with native mentoring skills, there's nothing wrong with providing some training—even just a half day's discussion covering the ground rules." BONUS TIP A good mentor need not be in the mentee's chain of command. "Although a boss can be a mentor, it's often more effective when someone who is not in a position to judge performance or make decisions about continued employment pro - vides feedback and guidance," says Frankel. LISTEN UP Now, for the other side of the selection coin: Who makes a great mentee? Frankel says the best candidates possess at least three of these five characteristics: 1. An innate desire to learn for the sake of learning, not just because it's required for the job 2. The willingness to take risks and do things differently than they've always done them 3. Openness to feedback and the ability to internalize it without over-person- alizing it 4. Insight into why they act as they do and the ability to see themselves as others see them 5. Humility or the knowledge that there's always room to grow The most successful mentees lack sensi- tive egos that can get in the way of pro- cessing constructive criticism. And the best ones realize the dynamics of mentoring are a two-way street. "The mentee should not only be willing to learn from people who have been there before, but they should also be willing to share their own skills or talents to benefit the mentor," says Avdoian. "I have mentored many people and I always learn from them." Perhaps the most important characteristic is a positive mental attitude. "The great mentoring candidate wants to grow professionally and perform at a higher level," says Goruk. "The individual must listen well and be willing to change." BONUS TIP Assess a mentoring can- didate's potential in the light of their pre- vious response to guidance. "An individual who has been open to coaching will likely be a good mentee," says Star. GREAT MENTORING Some mentoring relationships thrive; others wither on the vine. How can your own efforts find a home in the first group? Experts suggest these tips for success: Establish parameters "The mentor needs to define the scope of the mentoring relationship—what it is and what it isn't," says Frankel. "For example, mentoring might not be advo- cacy. A mentor who can't or won't put in a good word for a mentee applying for a promotion might be willing to help them prepare for an interview or provide insight into what a position will require." of Mentoring Benefits The Gone are the days when interviewers would ask more questions than candidates.

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