Mentoring people is a wonderful thing and done correctly, it can support someone with their personal and professional development. This process encourages growth and involves analysis of performance. However, to get the best results, we need to ensure that we nurture people’s emotional well-being along the way. A person who feels appreciated will always do more, so it’s crucial that we highlight someone’s value at the same time as using positive criticism to support them to be the best that they can be.
Here are 5 ways to ensure that someone flourishes throughout the mentoring process:
Check a person’s clarity of their role
It is important to check that an employee is actually clear about their responsibilities and what is expected of them. By initially asking your mentee to outline their role, you will be able to then assess if any of their flaws within your setting link to a miscommunication, rather than their actual ability or dedication. In this case, you can create clarity and make sure that everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet.
Start with everything they are doing well
William James once said, “The deepest principle of human nature is the craving to be appreciated.” We all have our flaws and there is always room for improvement with everything we do. However, if sessions are purely based on what needs to ameliorate, it can be very disheartening. By leading into each session with an overview of everything that your mentee has done well, or by highlighting their positive attributes, you will not only boost morale, but will instil confidence and build self-esteem. It is far easier to confront our weaknesses when we feel safe and valued. It is therefore important to create a safe and nurturing environment that allows space for vulnerability. Starting each session off positively and from a place of care will allow this to happen.
Ask for their input first
Before stating the areas that you feel have room for improvement, it is a good idea to ask your mentee where they feel they might need more support, or how they think they could enhance their performance. This approach empowers people to be self-critical and self-reflective and gives them the opportunity to own their weaknesses rather than being told about them. An empowered person is more likely to take positive action. By giving people the opportunity to identify their own areas for development, they will be more likely to own and step into these changes. It is also a good idea to ask what management could do better to improve the work setting for their employees. By discussing ways in which everyone could improve, including management, employees will feel that you are all developing as a team, rather than just being singled out.
Create achievable goals
Goals are important because they give us something to aspire to and they focus our mind. If we don’t know where we are going, how can we possibly know how to get there? It is like telling a sat nav to take us to the county of West Yorkshire and then being disappointed when we don’t end up in the exact town we had in mind. We need to know specifically what we are aiming for so that we can get on a path towards it. However, if we don’t break these big goals down, they can feel very overwhelming and almost too far out of our reach. One bit of advice I got about goal setting was to focus on habits rather than the outcomes. For example, if you want every child in your setting to have an individual folder with their profile and reports by the end of the year, this can feel like a mountain to climb. However, if you set the goal that every day you will spend 30 minutes (forming a habit) on a child’s profile, which will result in this happening, that goal feels more manageable. Overwhelm can lead to anxiety, procrastination or even the feeling of wanting to give up. By breaking tasks down, forming new habits and making goals attainable within a short amount of time, you should see an increase in motivation and positivity.
Share your own journey
As leaders, sharing our own journey of triumphs and failures can be very powerful and inspiring. If your mentee is struggling with something, find ways in which you can relate and share your own experiences of how you overcame and adapted to these situations. By doing this, you highlight that they are not alone and that no matter who you are, life is an ever-evolving journey of lessons, wins and defeats.
About the author:
Stacey Kelly is a former French and Spanish teacher, a parent to 2 beautiful babies and the founder of Early Years Story Box. After becoming a mum, Stacey left her teaching career and started writing and illustrating storybooks to help support her children through different transitional stages like leaving nursery and starting school. Seeing the positive impact of her books on her children’s emotional wellbeing led to Early Years Story Box being born. Stacey has now created 35 storybooks, all inspired by her own children, to help teach different life lessons and to prepare children for their next steps. She has an exclusive collection for childcare settings that are gifted on special occasions like first/last days, birthdays, Christmas and/or Easter and has recently launched a new collection for parents too. Her mission is to support as many children as she can through storytime and to give childcare settings an affordable and special gifting solution that truly makes a difference.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Telephone: 07765785595