I just finished reading Sheryl Sandberg’sÂ Lean In, and the “Are You My Mentor?â€ chapter really stood out for me. It highlighted an issue I’ve grappled with for years: how awkward and ineffective a formal mentorship can be.
There’s already plenty of advice for young people on how to be good mentees. But as someone who has been both a mentor and a mentee, I want to provide some solid tips to mentors instead, so they can guide their mentees in a more meaningful way:
- Don’t say you’re open to mentoring young entrepreneurs unless you have time. While I believe that most mentoring should happen organically, if youÂ do volunteer to be an advisor or a mentor for a formal program, make the time. Leaving young entrepreneurs hanging is the equivalent of having an amazing date and never calling again: not a good look. If you’re excited about a young entrepreneur, email them back (even if it’s just to say you’re busy and will follow-up in a month).
- Don’t call yourself a mentor on the first date. I recently had a man I’d never met before introduce me to a woman (who I had also never met) by saying: “We really loved your pitch. I wanted to introduce you to my colleague. I think she would make a really great mentor for you.â€ The woman then concurred and said, “I’d really love to be your mentor.â€ It felt like someone was proposing marriage on the first date. It was tough to respond because I didn’t know anything about the woman, I didn’t know why she thought she’d be a good mentor, and I had no idea how she defined mentoring. If you want to be someone’s mentor, be cool. Don’t come out of the gates asking for a mentorship relationship. Let the relationship evolve.
Read More at Business2Community