Mentorship has been a hot topic of discussion at home this week, as my daughter takes on a leadership role in her matric year as a councillor responsible for the school’s mentorship portfolio. Lucky for her, it’s a subject that I eat, sleep and breathe on a daily basis. As a business and executive coach, I play the role of mentor to many clients, and help leaders become more effective mentors to their teams.
You see, mentorship is one of the keys to growth and success, especially in business. When experience and knowledge is passed on to a less experienced and knowledgeable individual in a supportive way, everyone wins. The mentee grows into a more meaningful role much quicker. The mentor continues to grow and learn and gets the satisfaction of having purpose. And the business benefits from having a more stable, driven and competent team.
Every leader or manager in a business is a mentor, whether it’s formally structured or not. In order to grow as a leader, it’s important to become more intentional about your mentorship of the team.
There are 3 roles that a mentor plays
A mentor is usually someone with more experience or knowledge in a certain field. Whether it is a matric pupil who has been through the high school grades, or a business owner who started out in the same role as his current employees many years ago. By advising and sharing your knowledge and learnings along the way, you help your mentees to fast track their growth. This saves them valuable time and resources instead of leaving them to figure things out for themselves. This leads to greater efficiency, freeing them up to spend time on more important focus areas.
A mentor is an advisor, but it is not about telling someone what to do. Effective mentors listen, then ask the right questions, and then advise. Your job as a mentor is to help your mentee think things through. They need to figure out the right course of action by themselves, rather than providing all the answers. The mentor guides the process, but the decisions need to be made by the mentees.
A mentor’s role is to keep the mentee positive, enthusiastic, motivated and inspired. This is done by practising empathy and providing support through their challenges, tracking and encouraging their progress and milestones and celebrating their wins and achievements. A mentor needs to be a positive role model, and lead by example.
Whether you are looking for a mentor for yourself, or whether you need to hone your mentorship skills as a mentor, I’m there for you!