As we begin our mentorship year, I think it timely to just share with you some tips on mentorship. Not that I am a guru on the subject -being a mentee myself- but I have gathered some helpful tips from watching the people who have been mentoring me.
So, here goes something!
Establish a rapport.
Mentorship is about a relationship, it’s not just pouring out information-though this bit is important-Information would only mean something to me if we have a comfortable relationship going. Establishing a rapport is key since it determines the direction mentorship takes.
Here are some pointers on how one can establish a rapport;
We all know about first impressions, right? The first time you meet someone, whether conscious or not our minds work up a profile for them by considering; their manner of dressing, their manner of greeting, speech, and other aspects of mannerism; verbal or non-verbal. It is important to think about what you are going to wear for the meeting.
We host mentors and mentees with different ideologies, religions, and perhaps traditions. It is therefore important to be mindful of our conduct. Pay attention to what works, and especially what does not for the mentorship relationship.
Makes small talk.
Starting a conversation comes with its set of pressure. Moreover, starting a conversation with a stranger, especially when both parties have different sets of expectations can be taxing. Start the conversation with general things like the weather, traffic or perhaps the world cup; well it is the world cup season and I am sure you know a country or two. If football is not your forte find another common ground or subject of discussion, preferably something simple to lighten the mood.
This is a difficult one!
Honesty is one of the most important backdrops to building any successful relationship, including mentorship. Without honesty from either side, that relationship will be a fraud. Both parties should be able to speak truthfully to the other about their areas of success and failure. Honest feedback is helpful for the mentee as it helps them make different and smarter choices. In the same vein, it helps the mentor understand issues to address as well as experiences and networks to share. Furthermore, honesty from the mentee’s side will help the mentor to guide and challenge the mentee more objectively.
Until we come to a place of being real and honest, we will never be able to effectively give or receive help. So get in there and talk about the difficult honest stuff, it helps your growth both as a mentor or mentee.
3. Show and Tell
Growing up, my mum taught me so much, she still does. Surprisingly, I learned even more from observing her rather than listening to her. I have realized that there is a greater tendency for people to do what you do and not what you say. This, however, does not mean that words mean nothing and are not a great asset to the mentorship relationship. We all can listen to good advice and put it to practice, which is customary in mentorship. This then is a challenge to the mentor to give examples based on personal or rather relatable experiences on how the advice or challenge works in their lives.
Finally, mentees should be keen to see good advice spoken through the lifestyle of mentors and put it to practice.
Words have power but when combined with the right corresponding action they have…am yet to find befitting words.
Have a fruitful mentorship year.
Enjoy a great week.