Whether formal or informal, offering mentoring to others can be a valuable addition to your professional development.
Mentoring exists to create a framework for support and guidance, ensure successful working relationships, and encourage the sharing of knowledge, skills and understanding.
As a mentor, you can have a significant impact on your mentee. Your advice, guidance and support is important to their professional development. This advice was developed for Chartered Geographer mentors, but may be useful to others as they develop their mentoring practice.
You and your mentee will find it useful to discuss how you would like to get the most out of mentoring. Consider the following questions:
What expectations will you set in regards to your style and how best to work with you?
How will you know when your mentee is successful?
How will you communicate what success looks like to him/her?
What do you hope your mentee’s development looks like over the course of your mentorship?
How can you segment out his/her experience into phases to get to that point?
How will you explain your expectations for one-on-one meetings (if applicable) so you’re on the same page?
Consider the whole scheme and what success will look like. Support your mentee in setting SMART objectives.
The Chartered Geographer Framework of Competencies can help provide structure. The framework covers all the themes of being a professional and can provide structure to a mentoring relationship. You can discuss how a mentee is fulfilling each theme and use it to provide pointers of how they can develop.
Take time to get to know your mentee personally as well as professionally. Building trust is an important part of developing a mentoring relationship.
Don’t feel pressured to give all your advice straight away. Take time to consider the best approach and discuss different approaches to solving problems with your mentee. Occasionally, leaving a gap or remaining silent encourages the mentee to reach a conclusion or ask a question they have not considered before.
Your mentee is likely to be responsible for recording any notes and actions from the meeting, but you should at least keep a record of when meetings have taken place. It’s valuable CPD for you and you can consider what you are gaining from being a geography mentor.
Learn from your mentoring relationships (as a mentor and a mentee) about what works, what doesn’t, and develop your own style. Your employer or professional body may also offer professional development or other opportunities relating to mentoring and coaching.
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Featured image credit: @mimithian/Unsplash
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