THE SHOP

April '20

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12 THE SHOP APRIL 2020 12 THE SHOP APRIL 2020 Set goals when appropriate The most successful mentoring programs center on the individual's perceived needs. "Rather than make your own inter- ests the agenda, start by asking what the mentee needs," says Avdoian. Perhaps the person needs to develop a more impressive leadership style, a more authoritative posture or a more positive attitude. Are specific goals necessary? Maybe not. "Successful mentoring is often more about creating a safe environment to dis- cuss career issues and explore challenges than it is about doing any one particular thing," says Frankel. Sometimes, however, setting goa ls makes sense. "If you have identified a weak perfor- mance area, then a specific, measurable goal will be helpful," says Goruk. "But if you are just trying to develop your bench strength and prepare people for advancement, the goal might be simply the retention of a quality employee. In this case, the mentor might help the person stay inspired and feel empowered." Keep to a schedule "Decide how frequently you will get together and how long the relation- ship will last," says Avdoian. "It's best to enter meeting times on a calendar. A 'we'll meet when we can' approach never seems to work out because there's always something else to do." As for the venue of the meetings, estab- lish a designated area that is relaxing and allows for uninterrupted conversation. And respect the mentor's work schedule. "The mentee may think that the mentor will be available at any time for a consulta- tion," says Goruk. "That's unreasonable. Map out working parameters before the process begins." Discuss privacy "The issue of confidentiality should be put on the table," says Frankel. "The mentor should assure the mentee that any shared information will remain private. The mentor might want to ask the same of the mentee to facilitate candid and unguarded discussion." Be honest "Don't be afraid to say you do not have the answer to a particular problem for the mentee," says Star. "Take steps to help them find the answer and you will both learn in the process." HOW ARE YOU DOING? Assess the quality of your mentoring efforts by asking mentees for feedback. "Periodically seek insight into how the initiative is going," says Goruk. "If you get a blank stare when you ask, 'How am I helping you?' maybe you have not been very helpful. Remember that you are engaged in a process of developing new leaders. If you are not doing that you are wasting your time as a mentor." You should also assess the quality of your organization's overall business training ini- tiatives. "Start with a 360-degree survey to find out where your mentoring program is now," says Goruk. "Then redo the survey a year down the road to see how well you have advanced. Identify areas for improvement and encourage mentors to work on them." A quality mentoring program will assure your business retains critical skills and expertise when good employees leave. Try to extend the mentoring process to every individual who shows promise, no matter what the work level. Says Goruk: "The further down you can take your mentoring program in your organization, the more profitable you will be." New York City-based journalist PHILLIP M. PERRY publishes widely in the fields of business management and law. of Mentoring Benefits The The Great Mentor Test How well do you mentor your employees? Find out by scoring yourself on each of these 10 questions. Total your score and check out the results at the bottom of the chart: Do you ask mentees for insights on the kind of mentoring they need? Never: 0 Seldom: 4 Often: 8 Regularly: 10 Do you share your bad as well as good experiences? Never: 0 Seldom: 4 Often: 8 Regularly: 10 Do you maintain an objective stance and avoid promoting an agenda? Never: 0 Seldom: 4 Often: 8 Regularly: 10 Are you willing to perform the work required? Never: 0 Seldom: 4 Often: 8 Regularly: 10 Do you schedule time with your mentees? Never: 0 Seldom: 4 Often: 8 Regularly: 10 Do you define the scope of your mentoring initiatives? Never: 0 Seldom: 4 Often: 8 Regularly: 10 Do you set mentoring goals when appropriate? Never: 0 Seldom: 4 Often: 8 Regularly: 10 Do you discuss mutual privacy concerns with your mentees? Never: 0 Seldom: 4 Often: 8 Regularly: 10 Do you solicit feedback about your mentoring initiatives? Never: 0 Seldom: 4 Often: 8 Regularly: 10 Do you share your experiences with other mentors? Never: 0 Seldom: 4 Often: 8 Regularly: 10 What's your score? Over 80: Congratulations. Your mentoring perfor- mance is terrific. Between 60 and 80: Time to fine-tune your mentoring to better manage your mentees. Below 60: You need to improve your mentoring IQ. Re-gear by instituting ideas from the accompanying story. —Phil Perry

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