Mentoring is all about passing on a few tips and tricks to the next generation of business owners, entrepreneurs and technical specialists.
I have been involved in mentoring since 2006 when I joined the Mentoring for Growth program within the Queensland State Government. These days I am also a mentor for QUT and iLab, plus I get mentored myself by one of Australia’s leading CEOs. Everyone can always learn something new.
To me, mentoring is a bit like teaching, but without the pressure of exams or running a classroom full of kids!
Of course, you won’t be able to “tell everything” in the time you have with your mentee, but here are some tips for mentoring the next generation.
1. Be a good listener – mentoring is all about listening to the mentee and then responding with some sage advice. Better to do this than talk too much about yourself and your success.
2. Set goals – goal setting is important for both the meetings and the long term goals of the mentee’s career. I often start a mentoring program by asking the mentee to draw up a quick “goals game plan” on what they want from the next 10 years. A few lifestyle goals and checkpoints don’t hurt here but make it more around career progression that buying their first home.
3. Make it informal – mentoring is done well when both parties are relaxed and located in an informal environment. Having a coffee with your mentee is a great way to get out of the office and be in an environment that is easy to have a chat about careers. The formal surrounds of a boardroom at your office isn’t as good as it’s on your turf. A milk crate at your local brew shop is the way to go.
4. Get a mentor who’s different to you – my mentor comes from a financial background and was a CFO before they become a CEO. This is different to my career path with sales from under my house being my route to market. Being mentored by someone who runs a very large business providing advice in different areas of specialisation to me, gives me that additional area of knowledge I can build on.
5. Anyone can do it – mentoring is for anyone willing to pass on their experiences and knowledge about anything. It’s a great way to give back to your networks and community.