Become a Mentor

3 Things All Mentors Should Know

Mentorship and sponsorship are key drivers of success, yet it can be hard to find mentors and sponsors, especially ones with influence. The good news is that we can mentor other each other at any stage in our careers, and it pays off when we do. People with mentors feel supported and are often more satisfied with their career.

Use the tips below to be the best mentor you can be, and remember, like all good relationships, mentorship is a two-way street.

1.   Invest in your mentee's success

Commit time and energy to developing your mentee. Make yourself available and take the time to understand their questions and give them thoughtful and thorough input. Ask your mentee for regular updates. The more you understand their progress—and what’s working and what's not, the more effective you can be as a mentor. If they are not using your time wisely, be clear about your expectations and set guidelines for your time together. You'll both benefit from getting into a good rhythm

2.   Give open, honest input—even when it’s hard

Direct, actionable feedback is a gift, but we often receive less of it. Look for opportunities to give your mentee specific input for improving their performance and learning new skills. Whenever possible, share your input in the moment, when it’s most effective. If you hold back to protect your mentee’s feelings, you’re not helping them. Remember, your honest feedback will help your mentee advance more quickly.

3.   Don’t just mentor—sponsor!

The best mentors go beyond mentorship and advocate for their mentees. Start by understanding your mentee’s career goals, then think through her best path forward and how you can help. Endorse them on social media. Recommend them for a high-profile project. Introduce them to people in your network. Find ways to open doors for them and invest in their success.

Become a Mentor