The Art of Mentoring
- Rama Vasudevan
Are you a good mentor? If you can set people up for success, within a short time, you are. Are you an extraordinary mentor? You move into this category, with your own effort, if you can make people believe in themselves enough, for them to reach for the stars that they never even knew existed before. Often the magical path that leads the mentees to the never-before-imagined heights of achievements, is your time with them, sharing the knowledge gained from your experience, have a patient ear, and an unbiased approach. Do people ever forget such mentors, well definitely not.
Which brings us to the question, do these mentors par excellence do anything special? Of course, they do – here are a few things that they seem to do right, at the right time, and in right proportion.
The 'extraordinary mentor' is always there to discuss ground-breaking ideas/thoughts that make a difference to the group and the organization. And more importantly once the direction is set, she leaves people on their own. This will help in making people more responsible. That investment made is the first flight to the unheralded space.
Having a big picture
The extraordinary mentor is an artist who paints the big picture. For people, at times, the new processes can be Herculean and overwhelming. Having someone tell you how everything fits together to form a pretty picture or achieve an end goal makes it easier to adapt and follow the lead, however daunting the tasks may seem at first. Great mentors have this in them to make one see the end game, the final outcome.
Giving People a chance
In general, people like to give their best and therefore when they present an idea, lots of effort, thoughts, and good intention ride along with it. If the idea is worth a shot, great mentors take a risk, give a chance, and do all they can to make the idea a success.
Seeing their idea realized is a big deal for people and most likely they will pay forward all the help that they had received, many times over.
Great mentors build an environment that fosters ideas, encourages harmonious interactions, and create one of the best work places.
Some ideas will work while some won't. As a mentor, when you foresee that something won't work out, it's best to be upfront before much time is spent on a wasted effort.
It's not as if someone's trampling on anyone's toes. Mentors are very mindful/tactful about it.
You can bet, when people know that it's not personal, they'll come up with far better ideas/solutions than what was tossed aside.
Great mentors are generally very curious. This trait opens new vistas, broadens the horizons, makes them current in the market, and gives them a foothold in the Generation Z world.
Most of all, such mentors enjoy a respect and admiration for the knowledge that they have built solely out of this curiosity.
Being able to let go
As they say, change is the only constant thing. When you know something is for the better, it's best to let go and embrace the changes with gusto.
Great mentors seem to move with the wind, discarding what's not needed, learning and adapting to the changes, and wherever possible bringing in their expertise to make the changes a success. It's great to be light on your feet, isn't it?
If you are a mentee and find yourself among extraordinary mentors, it's best that you learn all you can from them. I strongly believe it'll stand you in good stead not only in your career but in your life too. On the other hand If you are a mentor, you will leave a lasting impression often recalled and mentioned with respect.