Mentoring People Who Aren't Like You
"It took me years to understand this basic dynamic: Those who look less like me might find it hard to share their concerns with me or ask for help. They might feel uncomfortable raising their hand if they aren’t sure I will identify with them. And it’s on me, as the leader, to help close that gap."
-Richard Farnell in his article "Mentor People Who Aren't Like You" from the Harvard Business Review
Helping your Mentee Trust Their Own Judgment
"Being a sounding board for your mentee, allowing them to discuss the situation with you, then helping them to think through the situation by asking them questions to draw out the consequences of various actions, is always more empowering for a mentee than advising them what to do. It helps them work through the issue and come to their own conclusions. By doing so, you ultimately help them to learn to think through issues themselves and trust their own judgment, both valuable life skills."
-From "10 Ways to be a Good Mentor" by Blue Sky Coaching.
Read the full PDF version here: https://www.blueskycoaching.com.au/pdf/v4i10_mentor.pdf
At the beginning of a mentoring relationship, make sure to talk to your mentee/mentor about your expectations, and what you would like to get out of the relationship. This will help you decide whether or not the relationship will be well-suited and mutually beneficial. However, keep in mind that you can learn things from your mentee/mentor that you may not have expected!
Verbal and Nonverbal Messages
Make sure to observe your mentee's nonverbal body language, but do so respectfully and carefully. This will help you understand what they are thinking and feeling, apart from what they communicate to you orally.
You may encounter challenges as your mentoring relationship develops. Try to approach each with a positive attitude, and make sure to consider your mentee's feelings (as well as your own). Involve your mentee when strategizing about solutions to certain problems.
Think for Yourself
Everybody is different, so not all advice your mentor gives will work for you. Try taking some time to experiment and discover what works best for you. Then you can try teaching it back to your mentor!
The Three Influences
There are three ways to influence a mentee: 1) advise; 2) coaching; 3) counseling.
Time Management is Energy Management
When making plans or commitments, don't just look at time. Consider the amount and type of energy demanded as well.
Look to Those You Admire
Struggling with mentoring your mentee? Look to those who came before you and what worked for them.
The best type of mentee is doing amazing things. Any way you can help them will hopefully inspire you. - Sara Chipps