Rebecca Lau (QMentor) and Remmy Matthew Ddungu (Mentee)
Often, we’ll see that some people are high performers in their role. They are very capable of doing a lot and generally can achieve above and beyond their own remit as well. However, unfortunately you can be a Steve Jobs for Apple – have great ideas, initiatives and drive a business to success, but that doesn’t necessarily equate to you becoming a top-notch manager or mentor.
Here are some tips and tricks from us to sustain a healthy mentoring relationship…
- Stay in contact
It’s an obvious point to communicate with your mentor or mentee on a regular basis, but this is something that we’ve noticed being a big obstacle between many of our peers who
also opted into a mentoring programme of some sort. It’s almost a given that you will communicate, but if the method of communication doesn’t suit one party, then this ultimately will cause a break in the relationship.
Before even starting, establish the best method of communication and the frequency. Make sure that both parties are aware that even though the mentee’s interests will be put at forefront, the mentor is also sacrificing their time to ensure that the mentee gets the most out of it. So, make sure that the communication method is suitable for all.
Also, if something unexpected happens and you need to reschedule, make sure you let the other party know as soon as possible – there is nothing worse than to spend time chasing up the other person, when that time could have been used more productively. We all know how hectic life can get, but that is no excuse to leave the other person in the dark. By just sending a quick email explaining that you need to reschedule, you’re giving the other person the courtesy of letting them know what is happening, and can organise another time to have a meeting.
- Meet deadlines
Once you establish the best method of communication, set yourselves deadlines for when and how you’d like to achieve the objectives or goals set. Ensuring that there is a milestone set so you both are aware and have a good understanding of what you’re working towards. For the mentee, the objectives you set should be focused on improving the weak areas of your employability skills and could include a range of goals, such as improving your CV and cover letter in the short term, to working on your confidence within an interview setting in the long-term. This not only provides a basis for the relationship, but also provides you both with some motivation in working towards that end goal with a firm and clear purpose.
- Be honest and transparent
Sometimes these relationships may start off well, but also steer towards a crossroad. At times like this, make sure you’re honest to your mentor or mentee if you feel that things are a little off track. Be honest and transparent about what you feel might not be working, what you feel might be better, or if you think things should change a little. At the end of the day, both parties want the relationship to work well, this will only benefit both parties in the long run.
- Do not be afraid
It’s a daunting experience to meet a stranger and start talking to them about yourself – but don’t be afraid. If you are going to interviews, assessment centres, meetings or simply meeting friends, then ultimately this will not be the first time you’ll be talking to a stranger. We must get used to this idea and get comfortable in our own skin.
Use the opportunity you have with your mentor or mentee to practice the way you talk, the way you listen and don’t be afraid to voice something if you think it will benefit the situation. Once you become more comfortable talking to your mentor, you’ll soon become more comfortable in a variety of formal settings; whether it be in an interview or a networking event, you would have the ability to confidently introduce yourself and communicate with new people in a positive way.
- Be yourself
Finally, and most importantly – be yourself. A mentoring programme will only be successful if you are not hiding anything. The mentee can only improve if they are honest with what their weaknesses are, however, this can only be possible if there is a comfortable environment and relationship in place with the mentor. For a mentee to open up to a mentor, the mentor must be approachable and willing to share some experiences; vice versa, the mentee must be willing to open-up about their concerns so the mentor can help and provide advice.
We are not talking about a conversation here and there, instead commitment to a mentoring relationship is key. Throughout that duration of the mentoring programme, it is important to be yourself, be honest, transparent, not be afraid, stay in contact and as well meet the deadlines set. If you’re able to do the above, we believe that can be the key to a successful mentoring relationship.
Interested in applying? Complete our online application form by 23.59pm Friday 25th May.
Look out for our next post on: Mentoring corner – Recommendations to students