Mentoring-An important aspect of Leadership

Most of us have learnt and heard about both Coaching and Mentoring. They are two distinct skills and yet have a similar energy in their intention. The intention is to support the client find success in his pursuit. While Coaching helps in connecting with the inner resourcefulness and well being, Mentoring; on the other hand, also provides with specific feedback on skill sets from an experienced Mentor.

Mentoring is an important skill set needed for today’s leadership. It is just not about motivating, or appreciating, giving advice, sharing personal stories, Mentoring is a much more complex-organic human process. Many organisations do not pay attention to the training and human processing that a mentor may need in order to become a mentor- leader, capable to driving the necessary performance and potential.

Let us first understand Mentoring.

Mentoring is a process in which the mentor develops a connection with the client in a way that the client is  receptive to the mentor. At the same time the mentor is able to create the space of healthy dissent and dialogue. Although mentoring is a two way process, the responsibility and accountability of keeping the client excited about growth through feedback is entirely the mentor’s.

The behavioural skill sets that support the mentor to really create the ‘sacred’ space where this growth can happen for the client include;

  1. Being able to relax: Remember this is not about you, it is about the client. So keep yourself out of the way; You don’t have to prove you are the best mentor. Relax.
  2. Focus on the client: Listening to the client and learning about what the client yearns to achieve.
  3. Focus on Strengths: Become aware of your client’s strengths and celebrate them with the client.
  4. High self awareness: Being aware of your intention for your client and impact you want to create through this session and relationship.
  5. Ability to step back: Allowing questioning and discussion for the client’s vision and where the client wants to be. Dropping your own agenda.
  6. Being specific on feedback, and seeing how it lands. E.g. “In the presentation today, I would have liked to see the graph of time against units, as it helps in determining…..What are your thoughts?”
  7. Offering choices to the client, E.g. “There are two things you could practice, which one would you like to take on first?”
  8. Forward Plan: Always agree on what the client is taking away from the mentoring session and what are the developmental practices.

Hope this list helps leaders and mentors. Feel free to send questions or comments for more details.


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