Secrets of a Successful Mentor
The writer feels that life has become very complex and the issues surrounding personal and career development are equally complex. People today help in their personal and career development. Vast opportunities along with many uncertainties and challenges exist. It is here that the role of mentors enter. Mentoring is an approach to human development that is independent and takes place outside any line management relationship. Mentoring is a relationship between two parties which are not connected within a line structure in which the mentor guides the others to work towards an agreed objective.
The desire to achieve is important in all stages of life. Mentoring is an approach to human development so as to enable an individual to achieve success in the achievement of goals. It is an independent source of help. At present, it is being introduced , increasingly, into many different organisations. The role of a mentor is to help the mentee make decisions to enhance his progress towards specific goals. The mentor has to first understand people’s needs and expectations.
He enables the individual to judge the extent to which they are likely to meet their immediate aims and objectives. The role of a mainstream mentor is to act as a guide, advisor, and counsellor at various stages of career growth. Mentoring is not an exclusive profession. Anyone who has the experience, interest, and motivation to help a colleague through a period of transitions can undertake this role. An effective mentor requires a number of skills such as listening, motivating, influencing, fact finding, counselling and time management. For mentoring to be successful, there needs to be a degree of compatibility between the mentor and the mentee, which must be easily accessible to him and should not hold the purse strings. Before agreeing to undertake the role of a mentor, it is important that he carries out some personal preparations and it is very essential that he understands the process and the difference between mentoring and other personal development roles, and should be flexible in his approach. The first meeting between the mentor and the mentee is vital. For the mentoring process, the mentor should properly prepare for it.
For establishimg successful rapport, both the mentor and the mentee should understand how the relationship should be conducted. Mentor should be positive, should listen, encourage and must not dictate. He should develop a good rapport by regular contact and contact strategies should be revised regularly. The mentor should find out what the mentee wants from the relationship and try to match it with his lifestyle.
Mentoring is essentially a practical exercise and mentor’s skills get better with practice. Networking is an important process through which mentees’ objective can be achieved as help and advice are not possible on all issues that may arise. The mentor has to plan the logistics of the meeting very carefully. Finally, to bring the arrangements to come to an end, the parties should be clearly about the circumstances for such a decision. Whenever relationships come to an end, consideration should be given to what if anything should replace it. It is of equal importance for the mentor to be aware of the pitfalls that might arise during the mentoring excercises. He should periodically review the process and the relationship so as to make it a success to the end.
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By Prof KD Sharma