How to be a good mentor

A mentor in the workplace is basically a trusted careers adviser. It’s when an experienced person supports and encourages a colleague to develop their skills and knowledge. It’s an excellent way to improve an employee’s performance and productivity as you are teaching them new skills, knowledge and experience.

The qualities of a great mentor include good communication, being approachable, a good listener, compassion, enthusiasm and honesty. Many companies are building mentorship programmes into their business strategies to help their employees work towards the company’s goals and objectives. And studies show that when candidates are looking for new roles, they sway towards ones that offer mentors and personal development.

Here are our top ways to be an amazing mentor at work:

  1. Set goals and expectations from the start. Find out what you want to achieve out of this, and what your colleague wants out of it too, and draw up a plan so that you have something to work towards. You can also use it as a way of evaluating and encouraging your colleague.
  2. Be genuinely interested in your mentee. Try to build a relationship on a personal level so you know how each other communicates, as well as how to get the best out of your colleague and what their working style is.
  3. Be patient. Remember your colleague is learning, this is something new for them, they might not be quick learners. So you need to persist and be supportive throughout.
  4. Be honest about mistakes you’ve made in the past. It might be really good advice for your mentee if they can see you aren’t perfect! Information like this is really good for problem-solving purposes and it also helps to build trust.
  5. Be a good role model. Remember to remain positive and professional, it’s not an opportunity to gossip about your colleagues! Your mentee can learn a lot from you by simply just observing how you behave. They are likely to follow your lead so make sure it’s one worth following!
  6. Celebrate their achievements. This is an important one, as it’s the one that’s going to motivate them to continue and give them the hunger to learn more. It’s a great confidence booster and will help keep them focused on the project. Report back to their boss if they’ve done well – and give yourself a big pat on the back as you’ve helped them get there!

So being a good mentor takes practice and patience. There’s a lot to work out before you start off – their communication style, how they process feedback, how they achieve their goals. It’s important to grow the relationship so that you trust each other and you are supportive and honest (on both parties). You’ll also learn a lot about yourself, and it’s an excellent learning curve and a way to develop personally too!