Accountability in Your Mentorship Relationship

marc bombenon

One of the keys to a truly successful mentorship relationship is building a sense of accountability early on.  Establishing accountability from the beginning will help both parties in the mentorship relationship to actively benefit from the exchange. Often times, mentorships end up fizzling out because the mentor provides advice, connections, etc to a protégé who does not understand that they must be an active member of the partnership. One of the first things that a new mentor should do is have an active discussion about accountability with their protégé and create an outline of what accountability will look like moving forward.

Create a Timeline

It’s impossible to plan out every single step of a protégé’s career; but that doesn’t mean that realistic goals and benchmarks should not be set. A clear timeline will allow both parties to agree upon exactly what is expected to come from their relationship.

When establishing a timeline, it’s important for both parties to communicate openly and honestly. A mentor may have certain ideas based on their experience, while a protégé have certain ideas expectations based on their ideas of what success look like. Remember that nothing is cast in stone; these goals and time frames can be reassessed if need be.

The purpose of the timeline is to allow the protégé to assess exactly what needs to be down in order to reach their goals, and gives them something to work towards. With a timeline in place, a protégé will be less likely to wait around for a mentor to give tips and advice, and it allows the protégé to be proactive within their career.

Measure Progress

In a mentor & protégé partnership, it’s important for both parties involved to take an active part in the measurements of progress and success. This will keep both parties aware of what is going on, and allow for healthy and active discussion on what has been accomplished, and what (if anything) has become stagnant in the plan.

One of the best ways to create accountability is to have a regularly scheduled meeting (bi-weekly, monthly, etc) that should not be broken; have a backup date scheduled as well. Consistency is key, and the continued meetings and discussions will keep everyone active and eager to have events and topics to report about.

Have a way to keep track of progress and accomplishments. Both people can keep a journal, or there can be a running document. Just make sure that there’s a way to actively measure that progress and accountability.

The Keys to Healthy Accountability Discussions

  • Good Timing: It’s important that the mentor (and protégé) be able to read the situation at hand. If one party is already down for whatever reason, it’s important to create a situation of comfort and optimism before delivering negative or hard news. Poorly-timed chastising could very well destroy a healthy mentor-protégé relationship.
  • Positive Attitudes: It’s important to keep positivity and happiness at the forefront of any discussion. A great mentor should be able to instill a sense of confidence in their protégé, even if there are negative topics that need to be discussed. No one benefits from being constantly bombarded with negative energy.

 

Creating A Mentorship Program At Your Company

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If you’ve been following my blog, you know how important I believe mentorship to be for success and growth within any career path. If you have the ability to do so, one of the most valuable things you can do in any workplace is to create a mentorship program. A successful program has the ability to lead to higher employee satisfaction and allow for the development of new leadership skills. If carried out correctly, there is very little room for the mentorship program to have a negative impact. There are a few things that you’ll need to take care of in order to build a successful mentorship program:

 

Determine Your Program’s Objective

Before you try to pitch your idea for your mentorship program, you must first determine the goals and structure you see for the program. Your company may have different issues and needs to address, so be sure to figure out what you want to tackle. (A mentorship program for new hires would require a completely different setup than a mentorship program that is focused on grooming future company leaders.)

 

One of the major keys will be to make sure you work with the company culture. Formal work culture will require a more formal process and more relaxed scenes will require less structure. But no matter what the culture, you will need to determine how the mentor/mentee pairings will be established and determine a general outline of goals that should be accomplished through the partnership.

 

Marc Bombenon – Building a Mutually Beneficial Mentor-Mentee Relationship

Determine the Pairing Process

This will by and large be the most difficult (and vital) part of the process. There are a few different ways that you can structure the mentor & mentee relationship:

 

Group Mentoring: In this set-up, a number of employees work together to share information, provide advice, and work towards a goal of mutual professional growth. Most group mentoring programs have a “group leader” who facilitates the forward movement of the group.

 

Peer Mentoring: Peer mentoring is the pairing up of similar employees. In this scenario, individuals develop a relationship based on the transfer of knowledge, and create an environment rich with skills and continuous learning.

 

Flash Mentoring: This mentoring scenario would be a series of “one-time meetings or discussions” where those interested in being mentored can sit down and meet with different mentors. This situation puts less pressure on the mentor, but still allows for the mentee to get the information that they need.


 

For resources: Inc. & Management Mentors & Flash Mentoring

Building a Mutually Beneficial Mentor-Mentee Relationship

When entering the professional world, having a mentor can be very important. In fact,  a 2012 Dimensional Research survey revealed that mentorship was the number one request by millennials worldwide. 42% of millennials said that when it came time to enter the professional world, they wanted mentors.But can the mentor learn from their mentees as well? It turns out that the mentor-mentee relationship has become mutually beneficial.

To understand the ways the mentor-mentee relationship in changing in today’s society, we must look at how millennials are shifting their focus. While they are strongly enthusiastic about getting mentors, they don’t necessarily want to follow in their mentor’s shoes. It may seem at first pointless to mentor someone who isn’t doing exactly what you want to do. Perhaps this diversity in aspirations is what leads mentors to learn from mentees, too.

But there are more benefits to the mentor-mentee relationship than seeing someone choose their own experience. So what is it that makes mentoring a younger person such a good life experience? And how can we get the most out of the mentor-mentee relationship?

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Of course, it feels rewarding to help another person. But there are more benefits to the mentor-mentee relationship than the satisfaction of lending a helping hand. Mentoring a younger person also gives a mentor insight into the mindset of the younger work force. This allows the professionals in higher up positions to understand more about millennials who are entering the workforce. It also gives the mentor connections to the mentee’s friends and peers. This network of people provides many viable candidates for professions that need to be filled. Companies and individuals will need to hire these young professionals in the next 10 to 15 years in order to stay relevant.

One of the most important things to remember when maintaining a mentor-mentee relationship is to keep it professional. Make sure that the friendship does not become one similar to a parent and child. It is important to set expectations and remain constructive. And of course, stay open to learning new information and skills from your mentee.

The younger crop of professionals can also help out their mentors figure out new aspects of the professional world that may be stumping them. For example, millennials are a great source of information on how to manage social media. In the information age, technology is constantly creating new jobs and new professional angles that are necessary to take. A mentor is an enormously helpful person in a young professional’s life. But in an ever changing professional world, mentees can help mentors get ahead in the professional world, too.

The Importance of Professional Mentorship

There is a common misconception that mentorship becomes unnecessary shortly after adolescence. In more ways than one, professionals can argue that mentorship can provide significant advantages and connections, as well as plant seeds for future growth. The process of mentorship is often veiled under the guise of “networking,” however, a network connection and a mentor play two very distinct roles. A mentor has the ability to enhance career development in others by sharing perspectives, insights, and experiences. While a network connection is simply another professional one knows in their respective industry, a mentor can foster a stronger relationship in which not only the minute benefits, but also the mentor. If you’re a tenured professional in your field, perhaps you should consider becoming a mentor. Here are a few ways mentors can benefit from and mentorship.

small-business-mentor

As a mentor, you have the ability to take on leadership roles you may not otherwise be able to conduct. Perhaps that promotion you’ve been eager to get just hasn’t arrived. Or perhaps you’re simply as a stage in your career that lacks upward mobility and your day-to-day duties have become fairly stagnate. Becoming a mentor allows you to break the monotony, sharpen the leadership skills you’ve taken so long to build, and potentially make a huge impact on someone else’s life. In addition to re-energizing your routine, becoming a mentor will allow you crucial practice coaching in a professional environment. One of the biggest, most common challenges leaders face is how to effectively teach and train another. Mentoring helps you strike a balance between “know-it-all” and knowledgeable; instead of providing unsolicited advice, a minute is eager for guidance.

In addition to helping someone else by sharing your wealth of knowledge, becoming a mentor can improve your reputation in the industry. Helping others is a sign or true leadership and valued at all levels of an organization. Mentoring proves that you have the ability to work well with others, lead and coach when necessary, and more importantly, it shows that you aren’t fettered by unnecessary competition or desires to constantly best your colleagues. Mentors are often crucial resources and sought after for their immense pool of knowledge.

Think about if you’re in the market to become a mentor today!