Talking about mentoring on a Sunday is not an interesting proposition. However, here I am, sharing my two cents about Mentoring. 

I have been practicing some of these ideas and opinions over the past many years, while I have been trying to implement a few others based on my recent learning's. As always, the main idea is to make mentoring worthwhile, and making the mentoring experience a fruitful learning experience, for both the mentee and the mentor.

So what exactly is Mentoring

Mentoring comes from the word mentor. To be a mentor is to "serve as a teacher or trusted counselor". A mentor is also considered as "a wise and trusted guide and advisor".

Here are a few points which would help you be an effective mentor.

Understand the Mentee
It is important to understand the mentee to be a good mentor for her. It would be important to understand the her background, her aspirations, her goals. A background knowledge of her skill sets would be helpful too.

An important aspect of being the mentor is to know the person behind the mentee, to give a human touch to the process of mentoring.

Share Knowledge
The process of mentoring often involves grooming an individual. To groom someone, and to build someone, it would be important to share knowledge with your mentee. Finally, knowledge and information is power.

Mentors commonly have more knowledge than the mentee. The starting phase of mentoring should always be focused towards sharing knowledge and information with the mentee. This would go a long way in building the talent of the mentee.

Set Up Challenges
Everyone thrives on challenges. The mentor should always provide the mentee with the right set of opportunities and challenges.

The challenges should be aligned with the mentee's current skill set, to build her confidence. The challenges could also be stretch goals, so that they provide the mentee with an opportunity on improving her knowledge, skill sets and self-confidence.

It is also important to ask probing questions, and provide access to dynamic and challenging situations. This would trigger an intelligent thought process in the mentee and would go a long way in developing her.

In my opinion, two important facets of mentoring include - helping the mentee to stand on her own feet and providing her with the right leadership opportunities. Both of them are tremendous confidence boosters.

Be Open to Ideas
Mentors also usually come with a particular mind set, views & opinions, and ways of doing things. The mentee also commonly exhibit fresh ideas, diverse thoughts, and a different way of approaching questions. 

It would be important for the mentor to assimilate the mentee's thoughts and help build the right approach to resolving questions. This may include accepting mentee's ideas too. 

When such idea's are accepted, it is important to appreciate the mentee and let her know why her idea is better. This would act as a confidence booster to the mentee, and set her up for thinking independently without any bias.

When the idea is not accepted, it would be important to explain the rationale behind the non-acceptance. This would help the mentee to see the logic behind the decision.

Tell what is Correct and Wrong
It is important for a mentor to share his thoughts with the mentee to explain what is correct or wrong in a particular situation. Sharing his views, even when not asked, would be a crucial point in the process of mentoring.

Many a times, mentee's expect mentors to lead them, even without asking them directly. It is important to repose the faith exhibited by the mentee by sharing the views even when not asked for directly.

However, it is crucial not to impose the views on the mentee, and let the mentee adopt the best approach towards the situation. This would build her sense of responsibility and ownership.

There are times when views would need to be enforced. Such situations should be carefully explained to the mentee, with the principle behind this opinion.

Share Stories and Anecdotes
We are what we see.

Mentor's possess a rich past which can be helped to build the mentee's future. They can provide a useful foresight to the mentee. 

The mentor's vast experience can help the mentee form some views and opinions themselves, so that they can act and react appropriately when they find themselves in similar situations.


All in all, mentoring is a very fulfilling experience. Mentoring provides the mentor with the satisfaction of having helped and guided a few people. It makes the mentor feel content, that you were able to shape the life of your mentee in a small little way.

Mentoring Mentoring Reviewed by Vyankatesh on Sunday, February 03, 2013 Rating: 5

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