There is no single, right way...
As with many things, there is no single way of doing it right, but there are many ways to get it wrong! And as with many other things, the seeds for success lies as much - or more - in the preparation as in the execution. So how can you get it right?
- Just having the conversation: Much of the benefit of a mentoring relationship is that it provides the time out from normal activities to have a conversation, specifically around the issues, problems and development concerns of the mentee. It almost doesn't matter who you have the conversation with!
- Finding a mentor with the right background: A great deal of additional benefit is obviously derived from having a mentor with the right background and experience to help the mentee with their specific goals.
- Finding a mentor with the right skills: If on top of that, you have a mentor who has the skills to challenge, question, reflect and summarise, advise, be a 'critical friend', listen and help with networking, then you are on the way to a perfect partnership.
- Get lucky: Find a partner who you like, enjoy spending time with and get along with on a personal level. This is not actually that important from a productive perspective but it can make for a more rewarding and enriching experience.
- Bear in mind the mentoring principles and mentoring expectations, both of which will be explained in future posts. Look out for them soon!