More Mentoring Activities
We've provided lists of mentoring activities before, but here's another great one that we found online. Varying what you do with your mentor or protégé can help make your mentoring experience more rewarding and interesting. This list provides a number of great ideas to help you on your mentoring journey: http://www.gtmentorjackets.com/activities
Be Willing to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
Protégés and mentors alike need to be willing to step out of their comfort zones. Those who can consider new ideas and concepts will be most able to reap benefits from a mentoring relationship.
Mentoring is a long term process, so it's normal to not see results immediately. Don't get discouraged by a lack of progress; keep attending and arranging meetings with your mentor or protégé. Resilience and determination are keys to successful mentoring outcomes.
Seize Mentorship Moments
Throughout your day there are countless opportunities for mentoring, the trick is being able to recognize and act on them. Any time in which you interact with another more experienced individual, such as in an elevator, after a meeting, or in the hall, can be transformed into a "mentorship moment". Take advantage of these moments to help you learn how to further your academic or career goals.
Make Mentoring Part of Your Schedule
A key to successful mentoring is frequency. Regularly schedule meetings with your mentor or mentee, and try to make mentoring a routine. Treat mentoring as part of your job and not an extra activity; making mentoring a priority will guarantee a more successful mentoring relationship.
Follow Best Practices
When entering into a mentoring relationship, take advantage of the thousands of guides, studies and articles on the topic. There exists a wealth of knowledge online that can be utilized to improve your mentoring experience. In fact, we have our own list of online mentoring resources for you to use: http://mentor.unm.edu/online-resources
In formal company or organization run mentoring relationships, mentors need to be provided dedicated time in which to facilitate their mentoring relationships. Simply adding mentoring to their existing workload without giving them extra time is a recipe for a rushed, unsuccessful mentoring relationship. Mentors need regular protected time to ensure that their mentoring relationships are successful.
Don't Overdo Feedback!
One of the main functions of a mentor is to provide feedback to his or her protégé. However, mentors should be careful not to provide too many pieces of criticism at once. Giving too much feedback can overwhelm the mentee, and dilute the importance of each point. When considering feedback, mentors need to value quality over quantity!
Mentees should aim to keep an open mind throughout the mentoring process. Try different methods of learning and types of activities that your mentor may suggest, even if you aren't sure that they will work. Being receptive and flexible can drastically improve your mentoring experience.
Know Your Limits
Mentoring is hard work for both the mentor and mentee. However, it's important to not overwork yourself in a mentoring relationship. Set boundaries early on (e.g. how often you will meet, how much work is to be expected), and if you find yourself getting worn out, let your mentoring partner know. The point of a mentoring relationship is to foster learning, not exhaustion!