Image of a mentor and mentee talking to each other.

Want to be a great mentor? Here’s how

by Joyce E. A. Russel, Forbes

Editors’ note: While the Chronicle tends to have a focus on youth mentoring in formal programs and natural settings, we also try to bring our readers different perspectives on youth and mentoring from around the internet and research world. Ask yourself what the most successful version of your relationship is. Can you take your impact from just providing psychosocial support to more, potentially increasing your mentees’ professional support network and allowing them to build social and economic capital within the relationship? 

We’ve talked to Dr. Paul Hernandez about how mentors are important for keeping marginalized youth in STEM fields, and to Dr. Bernadine Brady about how mentors can help build social capital—this article from Joyce E. A. Russel for Forbes provides general tips for mentors and additional tools that you can use to help build your mentees professional network. Read more below: 

It’s national mentoring month, which means it’s time to reflect on the value of mentoring. There is plenty of research documenting the benefits to having a mentor for both the mentor and the protégé. For protégés, we know that having mentors enables them to achieve higher compensation, faster salary growth, more promotions, greater job and career satisfaction, and higher organizational commitment. There are also benefits to the mentors when they serve in a mentoring role. They generally have higher job satisfaction and stronger professional relationships. Also, by having protégés, they have individuals who serve as a loyal support group for them. Serving as a mentor also gives them an opportunity to reflect on their own behaviors and to continually practice their communication and leadership skills.

Suppose you’ve decided to become a mentor or you already are one and you want to know how to improve, what can you do? There are definite tips for how to improve. I’ve included my top 12 tips for becoming a better mentor below:

Set realistic expectations and goals about what roles you will play as the mentor. For example, will you be providing mostly psychological support or career-related support? What are your goals for the relationship? How much time will you dedicate to mentoring others? All of these issues need to be clarified early on for you to be successful.

Enable quick wins. Establish some short-term goals for the protégé and measure progress. Quick wins can be very motivational for them.

Listen and act as a sounding board. Protégés really want someone who can listen to them and hear their concerns, questions, or frustrations. Before providing advice, stop and actively listen to what they are telling you. Make sure you are spending more time listening than talking. Periodically check for clarity to make sure you understand what they are saying.

To read the rest of the tips, check out the original article here.