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Mentoring: How to Mentor a Colleague | Video

Mentoring: How to Mentor a Colleague | Video

Mentoring is a way to pay forward all the help you have had through your career. But, as with many gifts, they often repay the giver as much as the receiver. Mentoring is a great way to learn yourself. It compels you to think through the best advice to give, and how to give it.

Let’s look at how to mentor a colleague.

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This is learning, so, sit back and enjoy

Three Types of Mentoring

I’d say there are three main types of mentoring. However, a good mentoring relationship will blur the boundaries and rove across all three:

  1. Performance Mentoring
    With the principal objective of helping your mentee achieve the level of professional performance they are capable of. 
  2. Developmental Mentoring
    Focused on helping your mentee gain the professional and technical skills they need to move their career forward. The mentor will often give the benefit of their practical experience.
  3. Career Mentoring
    All about helping the mentee move forward in their career. Often this includes a lot of conversation about the internal politics of your organization and of the profession In some countries (like the USA), this includes a measure of career sponsorship, where the mentor will directly support their mentor – even advocate for them. In the UK, this is less common.

So, how do you mentor a colleague?

David Clutterbuck founded the European Coaching and Mentoring Council. So, let’s start with David Clutterbuck’s six roles of a mentor – which he handily makes into an acronym:

  1. Managing the relationship
  2. Encourage
  3. Nurture
  4. Teach
  5. Offer mutual respect
  6. Respond to the learner’s needs

Setting up the Mentoring Relationship

This suggests that your first task is to set up the mentoring relationship. You’ll need to think about: 

  • Preparing an agenda in advance
  • Discussing a ‘Mentoring Agreement or Contract’. This may include things like:
    • Objectives
    • Confidentiality
    • How often you’ll meet, and for how long
    • Initial duration of the relationship
    • Style of conversation (and any boundaries) 
    • Contact details
  • Some time to chat, just to get to know one-another and build rapport
  • Discussing how you’ll talk about sensitive issues and what to do if one of you is uncomfortable with a conversation

Types of Mentoring Relationship

The relationship you create can be anything from…

  • Open to Closed
    In the range of topics are you both willing to discuss
  • Public to Private
    Will other people be aware of this mentoring relationship?
  • Formal to Informal
    How structured will your sessions be? 
  • Active to Passive
    How active will the mentee be in creating their agenda and acting on your discussions?

A good Model for a Mentoring Conversation

I have based it on David Kolb and Roger Fry’s Experiential Learning Cycle.

  1. Ask about the experience your mentee wants to discuss
  2. Ask questions to help them reflect on what happened.
    Take care to elicit precise observations, rather than assumptions and inquire into possible meanings, causes, and interpretations.
  3. Help them to generalize their experience and learning into a new understanding of the situation
  4. Ask about how this can apply in current and future circumstances.
    Look for actions they can take to consolidate their learning and improve their performance.

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You may also like these two articles on Mentoring:


What Kit does a Project Manager Need?

I asked Project Managers in a couple of forums what material things you need to have, to do your job as a Project Manager. They responded magnificently. I compiled their answers into a Kit list. I added my own. 

Check out the Kit a Project Manager needs

Note that the links are affiliated.

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About the Author Mike Clayton

Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to ProjectManager.com and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.

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