As a leader, there’s a strong chance that more than one member of your team admires you, respects you, and would like to one day see themselves in a similar position. As a result, some of these members may desire a one on one mentorship opportunity with you, as part of their own personal growth journey. While there are a number of benefits that can stem from both sides of a mentorship relationship, CEO’s and leaders should be wary of the fact that the mission may be a time-consuming one. To help you get the most out of your mentorship experience while remaining productive in other areas of your business, we’ve put together a short list of mentorship tips.
Know Why They’ve Come to You
You have a lifetime of experience to share with your mentee, however, that could take more time than you have to give. Be upfront in asking your mentee what are the specific areas where they’d like to grow so you can narrow down all that experience to one or two subjects at a time. Feel free to ask them what it is they admire about your or other leaders to gain a clearer understanding of what it is they’re looking for.
Don’t Be Afraid to Give Homework
Contrary to popular belief, your role as a mentor is not to hand-hold or tell a mentee what their next step should be. Instead, you should be asking strategic questions to help the mentee realize they are already aware of what the next step should be. For example, you may suggest they spend a week studying their own emotional processes to better understand their own triggers. This will provide the mentee with guidance without absorbing extra time from you.
Tap Into Your Inner Gandhi
There’s a great scene in the film Gandhi, where an exasperated mother brings her young child to Gandhi requesting that he cures the boy of his sugar addiction. Gandhi politely tells the woman to return a week later. When she does, Gandhi simply looks the boy in the eyes and tells him “you can do it, I believe in you” and the boy instantly gives up sugar. When the mother asks why Gandhi waited a week to cure the boy, he responded: “I had to first give up sugar myself”. Moral of the story: Don’t ask your mentee to take on anything you haven’t done yourself.
Unleash Their Analytical Side
One exercise that helps your mentee grow while simultaneously benefiting the team is asking them to come up with as many strategies as they can possibly think of for a single problem. Not only will this broaden your mentees perspective, but they may come back with some solutions that you didn’t even think of. If you find it difficult to get the ball rolling in this area, the Numina app has a useful perspective session that can help bring some clarity.