Mastering a Mentoring Relationship

“One of the greatest values of mentors is the ability to see ahead what others cannot see and to help them navigate a course to their destination.” John C. Maxwell

Mentorship is a personal developmental relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. However, true mentoring is more than just answering occasional questions or providing temporal help. It is about an ongoing relationship of learning, knowledge sharing, and challenge. The person receiving mentorship is referred to as a Mentee while the trusted counsellor is the Mentor. Mentoring is a process that always involves communication and most times relationship-based.

Why Mentorship?

A mentor can help you advance within your field and connect you with opportunities that you might not have otherwise had access to. They do this by sharing their knowledge, helping you identify opportunities in your path, and potentially opening doors for you when the time comes. Almost every great achiever in history has claimed that they had a great mentor at some point during their rise to excellence.

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Mentorship is a valuable tool for turning one’s vision into reality. Mentors are expected to guide and advise their mentees, helping them build a successful career, becoming successful entrepreneurs, or gain a solid footing within a certain organization.

Types of Mentorship

1. One on One Mentoring

In one-on-one mentoring programs, participants are matched via a formal program or they self-select who they want to be paired with over the course of a certain period. Participants can typically choose where they want to meet, how often they want to meet, and what they want to do or discuss when they meet. This type of mentoring is more focused on relationship-building and individual skill-building.

2. Situational Mentoring

In situational mentoring, the relationship between mentor and mentee is established to address a specific challenge, issue, or opportunity. The mentor may be on hand to assist the mentee more frequently, but the duration of the mentoring period is typically short. An example of situational mentoring is when a senior employee helps a junior employee quickly get up to speed on a specific set of job procedures.

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3. Developmental and Career Mentoring

This type of mentoring is long term and typically entails managers and directors who mentor their employees as they progress in their careers over the course of a few years. For example, an operations manager may develop a career plan for and with his or her new order processors and mentor them until they are running an entire department

4. Reverse Mentoring

This mentoring relationship is flipped from the traditional model. Instead of a senior professional mentoring a more junior employee, the junior employee mentors a more senior professional. This relationship is usually for the younger or more junior professional to teach the skills or a new application or technology to the more senior one.

5. Group-Based Mentoring

One or several Mentors work with a group of Mentees. With group-based mentoring, group members can help keep one another on track and are also able to meet with their mentors one-on-one when needed.

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6. Peer-Based Mentoring

Participants in this model are from the same role or department or have shared or similar experiences, whether in their professional or personal lives. These peers’ pair up to offer support for each other. This can be a group or a one-on-one mentoring relationship

Benefits of Mentorship

To the Mentee;

  • Exposure to new ideas and ways of thinking
  • Advice on developing strengths and overcoming weaknesses
  • Guidance on professional development and advancement
  • Increased visibility and recognition within the company
  • The opportunity to develop new skills and knowledge

To the Mentor;

  • Recognition as a subject matter expert and leader
  • Exposure to fresh perspectives, ideas, and approaches
  • Extension of their professional development record
  • Opportunity to reflect on their own goals and practices
  • Development of their personal leadership and coaching skills
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