• Estelle Roux-Stevens

How to keep a mentoring relationship fresh

Mentoring is a proven way to build skills and confidence in the workplace. It helps encourage a learning culture and puts employees on the fast track to higher positions. Millennials, in particular, benefit from mentoring, as they look for more guidance and involvement at work.

But mentoring programmes can become stale if the mentor doesn’t keep their mentee engaged. The key is continuous learning and making the mentee feel like they are always learning and developing.

Here are some helpful tips to keep your mentoring programme fresh and exciting.

Always challenge

The mentee needs to feel engaged, which is why it’s important to keep challenging them - even in the later stages of the cycle. Things can quickly go stale if they don’t feel like they are getting anything out of the relationship.

At the beginning of a mentorship, you will set a structure and outline with the mentee, detailing how the programmes will evolve. It is also important to allow for flexibility so that the journey of the relationship can grow, keeping everything new and exciting. The result will be an always-engaged mentee.

Be open-ended

Your main role as a mentor is to guide the mentee and provide advice. Make sure that you don’t fall into the trap of believing your advice is set in stone. The mentee doesn’t always have to take your advice - they have to be able to make their own decisions, using your guidance as a foundation.

If they feel obliged to do everything you say, there is every chance of them becoming disengaged as a result. The two-way relationship will manifest itself into a one-way street where you are giving instructions, rather than providing guidance.

Encourage exploration

While you are the main mentor, and the basis of programme has been already defined, it’s still a good idea to encourage the mentee to be open to learning from other areas. Diversity in mentorship is important as it provides different perspectives.

You will be the primary mentor. But if the mentee can listen to other ideas and inputs from different areas, they will more likely stay engaged and possibly bring even more to the table. Mentees that have several different points of view to unpack stand the chance of becoming a better well-rounded professional at the end of the cycle.

Keep yourself engaged

The mentee isn’t the only person who needs to stay engaged; as a mentor it is your job to stay motivated and bring consistency to the programme. You should be be just as open to learning from the mentee as the mentee is from you.

Not all learning sequences are the same. While the mentee expects to grow within the traditional setup of the mentor/mentee relationship, mentors can also grow in different ways from being open and ready to learn from the mentee.

Fresh as a daisy

By keeping your mentoring programme fresh and exciting, you will challenge the menee to improve further and provide them with a comprehensive set of skills which they can take with them into their professional career.

At Mentorjam, there is a variety of mentoring types available, each one designed to keep the relationship fresh and exciting. Enjoy specific tracks that champion employee development, from ‘hire to retire’. Use on of our track templates or create your bespoke route to a successful mentoring programme.