How to be a great learning mentor

A successful mentoring relationship is marked by trust and psychological safety, open communication, and collaboration on both sides (Training Industry). 

Mentorship is a two-way street, providing the mentee with guidance and experience-based insights, and the mentor with leadership experience. A mentor can also use their mentee’s fresh eyes to see things differently. The relationship can provide both parties with opportunities to reflect on their work habits. 

To reap all the benefits of a positive mentorship, follow our tips for being a great learning mentor.

 

GIVE REGULAR FEEDBACK

In any relationship where performance is being assessed, giving feedback is paramount. To be effective, constructive feedback needs to be given regularly. Given infrequently, like in yearly appraisals, feedback becomes outdated and difficult to action. Regularly check in with your mentee and discuss progress, give constructive feedback, and make plans for the future. 

Don’t forget that according to the latest research, the ideal praise-to-criticism ratio is 5:1. So, before highlighting a negative for discussion you want to have five positive comments in the bank!

Check-ins should be well-structured but not overly formal. Start with some warm up questions to get the conversation started, and then drill down into areas of interest. Make sure you wrap up your check-ins by giving both parties the opportunity to ask any outstanding questions. 

If you need a hand running a check-in with your mentee, check out the course in the Totara Community.

 

SET CLEAR EXPECTATIONS AND GOALS

Your plans for the future can come in the form of your expectations and goals for the partnership. Think about why you were engaged by your mentee (or why you engaged them) and what you’re both hoping to learn. Set yourself and your mentee goals on a performance management system such as Totara Perform that will underpin what you’ll be working on together. 

If you want to take your mentorship to the next level, use the appraisal functionality in Totara Perform to create a baseline of expectations for both you and your mentee. Then, revisit it in 3-6 months (or whatever time period is appropriate for the relationship) and assess whether you’re staying on track or if your needs have changed.

 

KEEP TRACK OF CONVERSATIONS

In order to plan for the future, it’s important to keep track of trends. An awareness of your mentee’s successes and areas for improvement can be achieved by taking notes of where they’re at and referring to those notes in check-ins.

It’s easy to manage your conversations and track any questions you have for each other in Totara Perform. Using the check-in feedback type, mentors and mentees can answer the questions during, before, or after a check-in to make sure they’re both on the same page. 

 

WHAT NEXT?

Successful mentorship means that both parties reap the benefits. Giving regular feedback, setting clear expectations, and keeping track of conversations, all contribute to making your mentor-mentee relationship as productive as it can be. 

With Totara Perform, you can keep track of all your mentorship activities, set goals, and manage check-ins. Interested? Talk to Totara’s Top APAC Seller today.