How to be a great mentor

Original by J. Alba, Pluralsight, 2019Hamster_gagarin_linkedin
hamster writter This summary note was posted on 12 April 2020, by in Management #

Purpose of mentoring

  • What ever the mentee’s needs are
  • Career progression
  • Cross road / decision
  • General personal improvement
  • Provide a safe environment for learning and growth
  • Learn from mentor’s experiences
  • Help mentee learn to think
  • Enrich professional relationship
  • Help make connections

What to expect

  • Time commitment
  • Work towards mentee’s goals
  • Expect the mentee to work
  • Share “how I did it” moments
  • Prepare before meeting
  • Improved people skills
  • Greater perspective

Four stages of mentoring

1- Preparing

  • Set assumptions and limitation
  • Set expectation and goals
  • Define deliverables

2. Negotiating

  • Establish ground rules with structure and flexibility
  • Confidentiality
  • How problems will be resolved
  • establish the needs of the mentee

3. Enabling

  • At the first meeting set the tone for the rest and place expectations
  • How you dress and show up sets the tones
  • Outline an action plan based on mentee’s obstacles and fears
  • In your own word what do you want to achieve
  • Set homework for the next meeting if need be
  • Confirmation of the next meeting

4. Closing

  • Provides closure for each of you
  • Debrief and celebrate

Subsequent meetings

  • Agenda prepared by mentee
  • Balance small talks vs objectives
  • Follow-up and accountability
  • Ask questions to guide thinking
  • Give feedback and advice
  • Use role play and simulation on a challenging or scary scenario
  • Open up and share experience
  • Challenge leading to growth
  • Pre-teach: ” I am going t tell you something that will help you
  • Use positive feedback to highlight the right things people are doing


  • “Did you do what you said you would do ?
  • Focus on specifics
  • Knowing that this question is coming is motivating
  • Focus on the right things
  • If they didn’t do it, do it know ?
  • “Why or why not? Tell me about it.”

Giving feedback and advice tactfully

  • What is the purpose of the advice ?
  • Focus on the behaviour not the person
  • Make your message clear, do not use joke or sarcasm
  • Practice before giving
  • Mentee might argue, rationalise.
  • Is this the right time to give the feedback?
  • Beware of emotions

The mentee journal

  • Might be a good idea for the mentee to have a journal
  • Not a private journal, should be ok to browse through with mentee’s permission
  • Includes session’s notes
  • Might include thought and feelings
  • Debrief after a meeting with introspection
  • Source of inspiration (can be used afterwards)

Wrapping up the mentoring relationship

  • Review the mentee’s progress
  • Ask them what they have learned
  • Ask them where they have grown
  • What their future goals and what is needed too achieve them
  • Do they feel prepared to move forward
  • Discuss what the future of the relationship will be
  • Celebrate the ending (success = celebration)
  • Celebrate accomplishments
  • Express gratitude
  • Reach out to mentee for time to time for updates
  • Through touch points stay on their radar
  • The critical thank you email
    • Summary of last meeting points
    • Offer help moving forward
    • Ideas and suggestions for mentee
    • Express gratitude
  • Recognise your own growth
    • Are you a better listener?
    • Do you give feedback differently?
    • Are you better are resolving conflict?
    • Did you realise the power of you experiences?
    • How will this help you move forward?
    • What goals would set for yourself?
    • What advice would you give to yourself?

What if you end on a bad note?

  • Do not criticise mentee unless invited to do so
  • Use tact in your communication
  • Hurt feelings are natural
  • What fault do you have
  • Keep relationship opportunity opened
  • Never, ever, ever tell bad things about mentee (looks bad on you too). Violates trusts and confidentiality