How to Become a Better Mentor to Your Employees

How to Become a Better Mentor to Your Employees

The current talent market is becoming competitive as ever. Fresh graduates and people who have already been in the workforce for years alike are now looking into job opportunities outside their own countries. This has business leaders and HR recruiters worried about the future of the talent pool in their companies. In fact, a survey from Deloitte showed that 41% of executives listed competing for talent globally and in emerging markets as one of their most pressing concerns. More and more employees in the workforce are also considering taking up a second job or joining the gig economy completely. In fact, 4 out of 5 of millennials and gen Zs said that the gig economy appeals to them.

Finding the right talent to address the necessary skill gaps in your company isn’t that much simple of a solution anymore. A possible alternative companies have is to look inwards and hone their talents from their existing pool of talents through mentorship and training. In fact, mentoring plays a pivotal role in an employee’s performance. In fact, successful companies know it too. A towering 71% of Fortune 500 companies have a mentoring program

Mentoring is so much more than supplementary to formal training. Coaching and mentoring allows for a more holistic type of learning because mentees are built up from their foundations, in terms of character and values too and not just skill.

Now a mistake people tend to make is believing that a good leader automatically makes for a good mentor. However, that isn’t always the case. In many ways, being a mentor means having a more personal relationship with one’s mentee, compared to being a leader having to steer an entire team. And like personal relationships, each one will vary differently from the next.

There might not be a single definite step-by-step guide that will work for all mentoring relationships, there are still things that mentors should definitely keep in mind to become a better mentor that their employees need. Here are a few of them:

Assess the circumstances

Each mentorship will be different from the next. Depending on the mentee, on their goals, and the circumstances of their specific situation, the guidance you should be offering would differ. For example, a mentee who needs help in handling their own project might just need an insight or two from your previous experiences with the same types of projects. While an employee who is just starting in the industry might need advice when it comes to setting their career trajectory.

You need to consider the circumstances within the context of the company as well. Are you mentoring this person to fill in a certain position in the future? If so, what specific experiences should they be having? What situations should you prepare them for? What skill sets should they be looking to acquire? 

Help them realize their own goals

As a mentor, it’s not your responsibility to set their goals, especially career ones. Rather, it’s your job to help them realize within themselves what goals they are aiming to achieve in the long-run. Ask them what they want? Why exactly do they want them? You could also help them by painting the bigger picture through sharing your own insights and experiences within the industry.  In doing so, you’ll provide better context for their own goals, whether it’s feasible or not or whether their current career trajectory matches up to what they want in life.

Of course, their goals shouldn’t only be created within a bubble. Their objectives must align with the company’s very own. As a mentor, it’s your job to provide direction to the goals they want to achieve in line with the company’s own vision.

(Read: Redesigning Professional Development that Speaks to Millennials)

Teach them soft skills, not just hard ones

Coaching and mentoring aren’t just about passing down processes and procedures. It is also about instilling values that will help them solve obstacles in the future. As a mentor, you can’t possibly give your mentee all possible solutions to prepare them for all the possible problems. What an effective mentor will do is to teach their mentee frameworks, values, and the proper mindset needed to address whatever obstacles in the workspace that they might encounter. Providing them these tools will guide them to come up with the best solutions with regards to the interest of the company and possibly even their own subordinates in the future.

Provide constructive feedback

Part of the mentorship process is giving comments for the betterment of your mentees. While mentees have the responsibility of acting like a sponge and absorbing the necessary and relevant information, it’s a mentor’s duty to guide them with direction, advice, and of course, feedback.

What mentors need to make sure is that they’re providing constructive feedback that’s clear and effective, without putting their mentees down. This means giving comments based on unbiased observations of the situation being assessed and how they handled it. Feedback on the person itself should be avoided to prevent mentees from taking comments as personal attacks. Mentors should also remember that feedback isn’t just comprised of criticisms but praise as well, and it must be given when it’s due. Lastly, mentors should deliver constructive feedback sincerely. Sincerity provides context that makes a compliment genuine or a criticism something that should be taken seriously.

Develop your relationship with your mentee

Develop your relationship with them as employees and as people. While not ideal, one’s personal life can bleed into their work in the office and affect their performance. Getting to know them as a person first will provide better insight into how you can best help them when it comes to their work. 

Mentorship is also about trust. Your mentee must be able to open up to you when it comes to asking questions and clarifications that they might be insecure to ask about with other ears listening. Likewise, you must gain their trust by making them feel comfortable. Having a personal connection allows for vulnerability. This will encourage your mentee to be more honest when it comes to their strengths and weaknesses. And in turn, this will give you a better insight on how to best hone their assets and address their shortcomings.

Know when to step back

Mentoring employees isn’t as simple as dictating what they should do. Sure, your role as both their boss and their mentor will complicate the matter of choosing when exactly to provide instruction and when to simply provide guidance.

When this uncertainty surfaces, it’s good to remember that the goal of mentorship is to mold your mentee into the ideal independent employee that they can be. Perhaps, if it’s the mentee’s first time encountering a problem of a certain nature, giving instruction step-by-step might be best, along with explanations regarding the principle behind every action. They can then keep in mind what to do and the reasons behind them during the next time they face a similar hardship.

You can then let them solve their own problems while still being available for counsel within a safe distance. This reduces the possibility of error for the sake of company performance while not turning yourself into a clutch and making your mentee overly-dependent.

Lead by example

Become your mentee’s model of what they should aspire to be in the workplace. Don’t become the mentor who doesn’t practice what he preaches. Setting an example of yourself doesn’t just make for good practice, it also generates trust and confidence from your mentee that they’re in safe hands. Just by working with you, your employees can also pick up on many things such as habits, values, standards, and style. Even office behavior and etiquette when it comes to navigating office politics. Who knows? They might even notice a few things about you that make you an effective leader and employee which you may not know yourself, giving you an opportunity to reflect on how you affect others in the workplace.

(Read: 5 Training Practices That Do More Harm Than Good)

Are you looking for other ways to better equip your mentees and employees with the right skills they’ll need in an industry that’s getting more competitive by the day? Do you want to become a better mentor to your employees? If so, SkillBean might be the place for you.
SkillBean helps companies assess their employees to better aid them with the necessary training and skills they’ll need to remain competitive in the industry. SkillBean also provides a training request platform where companies can ask for various training modules and courses modified to their specific needs, such as communication skills training, leadership training in the Philippines, and much more! Message us at [email protected] to schedule a meeting.

Comment ( 1 )

  • AffiliateLabz

    Great content! Super high-quality! Keep it up! 🙂

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