3 Overlooked Ways to Mentor Your Employees
On our coaching programs I get asked regularly enough about the difference between coaching and mentoring.
It’s a good question and I suspect there’s no single correct answer. But here’s how I put it:
To be a mentor you need to have experience of the journey that the person you’re mentoring is undertaking. To be a great mentor, you’ll use a wide range of coaching skills to help make your expertise more effectively understood and embraced.
Here are three such coaching tactics that will help you out.
1. Hold off on the advice
You’ll be asked “what do you suggest I do about…?” and you’ll be desperate to share your ideas and your wisdom, to show your trophies and your scars.
There’s a place for all that.
Before you leap to that place, say this:
“I’ve certainly got some ideas that will help you.
But before I share them, what ideas do you already have?”
Help them think. Let them figure this out as best they can.
And then add your wisdom.
2. Show your scars
I’ve written a number of times about the power that resides in your scars. Talking about where you’ve stumbled, the mistakes you’ve made, the answers you’ve yet to discover.
Not only does that remind the person that you’re mentoring that you’re human and not some perfect ideal, but it reminds them (and you) that there is no perfect answer waiting to be discovered. “Best practice” is too often proves to be unobtainable and disheartening rather than actually useful.
Show them where you’ve tumbled rather than triumphed.
3. Help them learn
People don’t remember anything you tell them.
Harsh, but mostly true.
So help them find the wisdom in the wisdom that you’ve shared.
At the end of every conversation ask them this:
What was most useful for you in this?
What do you want to remember?
It’s in answering those questions that your mentee will make the new neural connections that will become wisdom.
At your best, how do you mentor someone?
What wisdom would you share?