Now that we know effective mentors are human and invested in the next generation’s success, it’s important to note that the best mentors have built self-awareness and they’re enthusiastic.
Why? Self-awareness helps mentors see their own blindspots so that they can help their mentees avoid mistakes they themselves made, and a mentor’s enthusiasm can help their mentees become more invested in the mentoring process—and the outcome.
Here are a few ways your mentor may exemplify self-awareness and enthusiasm during your mentoring partnership.
This is Part 2 of our 10-part series on the 10 Key Qualities and Habits of a Highly Effective Mentor. Read Part 1 here.
1. They’re engaged with their surroundings
Ever heard someone say, “it’s more than just a job”? These are the people you want to search for. They don’t just work in the industry, they participate. They look beyond their work to other departments, other organisations, and the industry as a whole. They’re not just in it for a paycheck, to punch in every morning and punch out every night, they believe in the organisation’s mission and their role in it. These people are enthusiastic about what they do, and that enthusiasm can be contagious. Seek these people out as a mentor, as they’ll help you find purpose in your work.
2. They see the ‘Big Picture’
Highly effective mentors have a broader perspective of the industry within which their organisation sits. This often helps them bring a new perspective or ‘fresh set of eyes’ to the mentee’s work or challenges ahead, thereby ensuring better feedback is applied to the mentoring relationship. This understanding from the mentor means that they know all the effort put into the mentoring relationship affects more than just the two people in it, it affects the organisation and the industry as a whole. This ability to see the bigger picture of what mentoring can do in the long run helps mentors better guide their mentees towards success.
3. They show enthusiasm for their chosen professional field
A mentor who does not exhibit enthusiasm for their line of work generally doesn’t make a good mentor. As we mentioned before, enthusiasm is catching and contagious and new employees want to feel as if their job has meaning and the potential to create a good life. Your mentor has to take a special interest in helping you build and develop your career, and if they aren’t enthusiastic about you and the kind of work you are trying to do, it probably won’t work out.
The Role of Enthusiasm in Mentoring
Enthusiasm is an important part of successful mentoring. Mentors who are passionate about their work and excited to share their knowledge tend to be more successful in their efforts. Mentors who demonstrate enthusiasm for the mentoring process and convey their excitement to their mentees show they’re committed to helping them reach their goals.
Enthusiasm can also be a powerful way to build relationships and rapport with mentoring partners. When mentors are passionate about their work and excited to share their knowledge, they are more likely to connect with their mentees on a personal level. This helps create a more meaningful mentoring experience for both parties, as it encourages open communication and trust between them.
This attitude helps mentoring partners stay motivated and energized throughout the mentoring process. It can also help ensure that the mentoring experience is successful and beneficial for both parties.
Tips for Increasing Enthusiasm in Mentoring
- Look for ways to make the mentoring experience fun and engaging.
- Be passionate about your work and share your excitement with your mentee.
- Be open to new ideas and perspectives.
- Focus on progress, not perfection.
- Celebrate successes together with your mentee.
Mentoring can be a rewarding experience for both mentors and mentees. By maintaining self-awareness and building enthusiasm, mentors can create positive learning environments, foster meaningful relationships, and help their mentees reach their goals.
Complementary to this, is patience and understanding. Mentees may need extra time to process new information or to practice new skills. Mentors should be willing to provide guidance and support throughout the mentoring process, and be open to feedback from their mentees.
4. They have nurtured their self-awareness
Last but not least, a mentor who is self-aware is not married to their ego, delusional about their achievements, or unaware of their weaknesses. The ability to see and acknowledge blindspots allows mentors to be able to shine a light on those of their mentees. Many times, we aren’t aware of our own shortcomings, so having someone who helps us see them is invaluable. What’s more, a mentor’s ability to be self-aware and vulnerable will provide mentees with a unique opportunity to adopt these traits for themselves!
Benefits of Self-Awareness in Mentoring
Being self-aware is essential for effective mentoring. It allows mentors to recognize their own strengths and weaknesses, and to use those to their advantage. It also allows them to identify areas for improvement and to set their expectations appropriately. Additionally, self-awareness helps mentors understand their own biases, and to recognize the different perspectives of their mentees. Self-awareness can help mentors become better listeners, communicators, problem solvers, and team players.
Self-awareness can also help mentors create a more effective learning environment. It allows them to identify which learning strategies will be most beneficial to the mentee, and tailor their mentoring approach accordingly. For example, if the mentor recognizes that the mentee needs support in developing their technical skills, they can focus on providing instruction and guidance in that area. On the other hand, if the mentor recognizes that the mentee needs support in developing soft skills such as leadership or communication, they can provide exercises or activities that promote the development of those skills.
Self-awareness can also help mentors to better understand the mentee’s individual needs and goals. By being aware of the mentee’s strengths and weaknesses, mentors can provide more tailored advice and guidance that is better suited to the mentee’s individual needs. Additionally, self-awareness can help mentors to better understand the mentee’s motivations and aspirations, and to provide more meaningful support and encouragement.
Strategies for Building Self-Awareness in Mentoring
Self-awareness is an essential component of successful mentoring. Here are some tips for building self-awareness in mentoring:
- Take the time to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses as a mentor.
- Be open to feedback from your mentee.
- Practice active listening to truly understand the perspective of your mentee.
- Be aware of your own biases and strive to remain objective.
- Keep a journal where you can record your thoughts and feelings about the mentoring process. You can use your loop to do this in the Mentorloop platform.
It is also important to be mindful of the power dynamics between mentor and mentee. As a mentor, it is important to recognize that you have a responsibility to create a safe and supportive environment for your mentee. Make sure to be respectful of your mentee’s boundaries and to be open to their feedback.
Does Your Organisation Have a Mentoring Program in Place?
Does having these types of players on your team sound like something you’re interested in? You might already have hired them! Implementing a mentoring program at your organisation can help tease out these effective players and turn them into mentors that grow your business from the inside out.