Think Long Term About Your Mentoring

by Barry Sweeny, © 1999

New mentors often perceive themselves and their mentoring work only in relationship to the first individual that they are mentoring.

Later on, mentors are better able to reflect on their work from the wider perspective of a number of different proteges. Each protege has different needs and so each requires the mentor to grow in different ways as they work to address those needs. Also, continued practice improves mentoring skills over time. Here is an example of what this might look like for one mentor.

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6 Year 7 Year 8 Year 9
Protege #1:A new employee in your organization but recently experienced in another
Unassigned as a mentor Protege #2:A young & inexperienced novice employee right out of college Unassigned as a mentor Protege #3:An experienced employee returning to work after 14 years as a mom of
Actual Mentoring Focus:• Local site orientation

• Specific job orientation

• Individualizing customer
service practices

• Developing or locating new resources

• Effective time & paper management strategies

Reflective practice & career- long learning

• Coaching
in basic effective work strategies

Actual Mentoring Focus:• Local site orientation

• Specific job orientation

• Working with customers from diverse cultural & economic

• Improve protege’s performance appraisal by

• Reflective practice & teaming.

Actual Mentoring Focus:• Local site orientation

• Specific job orientation

• Changed expectations

• Coaching the protege
in strategies for better implementation of high tech training skills for
junior managers and e-learning applications, of which the mentor knows very

Developed Mentoring Skill
in:•ï Assessing protege needs

• Time management to
help protege during ìcrunchî times

• Building the M-P Relationship

Developed Mentoring Skill

• Adjusting mentoring to level of need

Anticipating ìcrunchî times & doing own work early so to be available
to support the protege

• Assessing current status in mentoring

Developed Mentoring Skill
in:• Better anticipating of protege needs

• Consolidating
& refining my own work practices & goals

• Ability
to articulate my own practices and thinking processes

• Challenged
to model best practices for protege

1. After serving as a mentor to several proteges, mentors realize that they need a much wider range of skills then they first imagined. These mentors often tell me that they believe they could have been better mentors for their earlier proteges if had they developed that wider range of mentoring skills earlier in their mentoring career.

2. Perhaps you can learn from these more experienced mentors. Determine early on to become the best mentor you can be!

Take the longer-term view of your work as a mentor right now. Here is how.

1. Compare yourself and your strengths to those of the “ideal” mentor and identify the areas in which you could grow as a mentor.

2. Next, set a goal or two for your own growth as a mentor.

3. Finally, develop a plan to accomplish your goal and to increase your mentoring skills.