Supporting your Mentee

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Working with your mentee over the next five months is a brilliant opportunity for us all to hear the challenges that middle managers face. Opening our eyes to how we can help, what we can share, and the knowledge we have that can feel insignificant - but it all makes such a huge difference.

If you are looking for tools to assist your mentee over the next five months, this article can help you along.

Goal Development

Sometimes a mentee might create a goal that is unachievable within the program time frame, or sometimes it won’t assist them to reach their overall long term goal. Maybe it’s a goal they ‘think’ they should do (e.g. further education). So how do you go about challenging this with grace?

  • Have them reflect on their core values. Picking only three, what would their top values be? How do they manifest these? What does this look like now and in the future? Is this for their personal life or career development? 
    • e.g.  you’re working a 70 hour week and feeling parent guilt, but wanting to be a successful leader still. How do you balance the two?
    • e.g. they see a gap in the aged care marketplace and are keen to explore who to start their own business/start up.
  • Visualise it.
    • What does the ideal future look like? Describe the feeling and sit in the moment.
  • The SMARTER goal framework can be used to break goals into actionable and realistic steps that you can both work together over the next five months. [SMARTER details here]

Assess and Develop

What about interpersonal skills?

We all need to be constantly aware of our Emotional Intelligence (EQ) especially as we become more experienced as leaders (and humans!)

  • Identify a past critical incident and reflect.
    • What would others say about you and how you handled these situations that are positive?
    • What negative feedback or improvement suffusions would other say about you regarding your handling of critical incidents in the past?
    • What general beliefs do you have about yourself that are limiting, and you would like to change?

Decision Making

It’s so easy to think someone with more experience knows better. We can look to them to make our decisions for us. As leaders and mentors it’s tempting to pretend we have all the answers BUT how do we help mentees come to these decisions by themselves? How do we guide them on their journey without setting the sails for them?

  • Pause
    • Avoid making any decisions when you are in a place of gloom or extreme emotion
    • Be indifferent to the choice - become a neutral guide (NOT a “judge”). Taking a step back and detaching ourselves the choice can open up more options.
  • Reflect on different realities. Sit with one option for a few days, then another. Get them to report back on all of this.
  • Courage and resilience.
    • Keep going!! Persistence and perspiration in the face of challenges are the most important thing we can do as leaders. The most important thing you can do is to tell your mentee to keep going!”
    • Assess your courage
    • Be courageous yourself - role model this behaviour, share a story/experience on how you have managed your courage and determination, and they will follow your lead!
    • Reflect on past adversity
    • Show and share optimistic self-talk

Mentoring partnerships are a gift that helps us all count the leaders and build the capacity of those around us. Creating challenging but supportive meetings and tasks will help your mentee grow and succeed well after this program has ended.

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