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How to Mentor in the Workplace

How to Mentor in the Workplace

Learning how to mentor in the workplace is an important skill to learn. A mentorship relationship is indeed a two-way street. The mentor has to be willing to help, advise, and coach the mentee, and the mentee has to be willing to put in the effort in order to get the most out of the relationship. Of course, it is the, for the most part, the mentee’s responsibility to get the ball rolling in the right direction. After all, mentees are the ones who require the mentor’s help to propel and accelerate their professional development.

So what do mentees need to know about being a mentee? The following points will highlight what it means to be in the mentee’s shoes and what etiquette they need to mentor in the workplace.

How to Mentor in the Workplace

LET GO OF YOUR EGO

As a mentee, you are the one asking for guidance and assistance. Proper mentor-mentee relationship etiquette is to let your mentor take the lead. Consider this relationship as being dance partners – one person leads, and the other follows. Remember, your mentor’s experiences count for a lot; they are credible and they hold an incredible amount of information power. Trust in your mentor’s abilities to guide you in the right direction. They have walked miles in your shoes, so let them show you the way.

ACTIVE LISTENING GOES A LONG WAY

How do you let your mentor take the lead? Through active listening. But what is the difference between listening and active listening, and why is active listening important? It’s crucial to go further than just hearing what your mentor is saying. Practicing active listening in your mentor-mentee relationship shows that you are absorbing what your mentor is saying, paying attention to their advice, and comprehending their messages clearly.

If your mentor is a successful professional, chances are they are extremely busy outside their mentorship relationship with you. Active listening not only shows your enthusiasm for the opportunity to work alongside your mentor, but it also shows that you are able to take direction well, even amidst all the busyness.

BE PREPARED

Your time with your mentor is precious and valuable. Not everyone is fortunate enough to find someone with who they are so eager to work alongside and actually be given the opportunity to do so. Showing preparedness by clarifying from the very beginning of the relationship what you are expecting from there, what your goals are, and what you are willing to do in order to achieve those goals shows not only your respect for your mentor, it also shows the respect you have for yourself. Coming prepared with goals and expectations for your mentorship relationship will help in building an effective and efficient connection.

DON’T GET DEFENSIVE

Your mentor has years of first-hand experience, that’s why you want to learn from them, right? As a mentee, it is crucial that you ask for feedback constantly. Although criticism is difficult to take in sometimes, it is an integral part of our personal and professional development. What is important to note about feedback, is how to interpret them as constructive criticism. As a mentee, you should be able to separate your personal insecurities from what your mentor is trying to communicate with you. Often, we are unable to take criticism constructively because we project our personal insecurities to the situation instead of directing the comments strictly to the event.

Mentors will oftentimes have a different point of view from you. Try not to get defensive because they are there to show you alternative ways to criticize situations and tackle situations. Appreciate their honesty with you. If you have concerns with their suggestions, discuss them openly to arrive at a consensus.

RESPECT YOUR MENTOR’S TIME

Working with mentors can test your ability to multitask. Recurrently, your mentor may give you a variety of work to be completed; this is because they want to give you as much work experience in the field as possible, and they also have less time to dedicate to their own work after taking you under their wing. Respect your mentor’s time and complete work promptly. This also extends to your communication efforts. Returning their phone calls and emails promptly allows them to schedule extra help or reorganize their personal schedules in the event that you are unable to complete assigned tasks or if you are otherwise unavailable to do so.

TAKE IT SERIOUSLY

This section goes hand-in-hand with respecting your mentor’s time. If you are in business, your mentor is likely a successful business person. If you are a teacher, your mentor is likely a successful professor. If you are in culinary arts, your mentor is likely an extremely busy executive chef. Whatever your field is, it is important to take your mentorship relationship seriously. Again, it is not often that mentees are able to choose their own mentors and be given the opportunity to work alongside them. So, take it seriously!

Consider looking at your opportunity from the perspective of a person who did not get the same chance as you. Perhaps it is because they could not commit the time. Or, maybe it is because your mentor, out of all the individuals who had approached them, chose you to be their mentee. Be gracious that you are able to learn from your mentor because there are others who may be willing to work harder than you but were not given the break to.

SHOW GRATITUDE

Mentors have a great impact on their mentees’ lives. They are the ones who develop their critical thinking skills so that their mentees are able to take on challenges in their professional careers in ways that direct them to success. When you write our graduation notes to be printed in your high school yearbook, many of us thank our teachers, family, and friends for helping us get through the five years of secondary school. Why not do the same for your mentors? Mentors do a lot for you – they may invite you to sit in meetings or go to conferences and networking events that will connect you even more so with individuals in your field. Those are opportunities that not very many people get. It is important that you show your gratitude to your mentor because without them, you would probably have to take the long route to your destination.

Respect Your Mentor’s Confidence

Your mentor’s experiences are priceless. They have likely worked with numerous organizations, with each one giving them more knowledge. With every endeavor your mentor has gone through, they gain more confidence. Respect their sureness and be open to their suggestions. If you do find yourself questioning the legitimacy of their actions, talk to them directly. Everyone comes with their personal beliefs and values, and mentors are there to open your eyes to different solutions, not to challenge your principles.

Let Your Mentor Invite You In

First and foremost, your mentor is there to be your professional role model. They are there to show you the ins and outs of your career so that you may accelerate yourself to your professional growth and development. However, because some mentorship relationships require both parties to work closely together for long periods of time, it is inevitable that professional relationships become more personal. If this is the case, let your mentor invite you into their lives. Remember, as a mentee you are there to learn from their professional experiences first.

Keep The Doors Open

When you stay in relationships that no longer have a purpose, it is doing the other party and yourself a disservice. Eventually, your mentorship relationship will run its course, and you, as a mentee, will need to leave the relationship.

It is important not to burn bridges when you leave any mentorship relationship. Keeping the doors open between yourself and your mentor allows an opportunity to work collaboratively again in the future.

Learn more about creating positive two-way communication within a mentor and mentee relationship with our online courses! 

To learn more about the power of emotional intelligence and the benefits of coaching and mentoring in the workplace, sign up for our biweekly newsletter here, where you will receive our latest updates, an inventory of resources, and much more!

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Five Tips on How to Coach Employees

Five Tips on How to Coach Employees

So, you have been coaching employees within your business for quite some time now. Your employees’ lives have drastically improved and they have achieved more than what they thought possible before. Nonetheless, you feel like you have reached your peak as a coach; you have given them your best work and all the techniques you know, and have taken them as far as you can take them. However, now you’ve run out of tricks up your sleeve, or tools in your toolbox, and you need a kick in the pants to take your coaching career and your coachees’ lives to a whole new level. Luckily, we’re revealing five tips on how to get a grip on coaching for greater effectiveness so that your employees or coachees will be challenged to be their absolute best.

We have all been there…we have all reached a point where we are stagnant in our careers, and we want to push further. When we get complacent in our coaching, we become too comfortable with the coaching techniques and tools we use and share with our clients. Yet, we know deep down inside we need to introduce some new ones for your own skill development. Fundamentally you know you need to be continuously monitoring your work to stay current and ahead of the marketplace in order to enhance your personal coaching brand and increase the value of your coaching sessions.

Let’s be honest. The Internet has assured us that there are no secrets. Anyone can get anything, anytime, anywhere, and for free. Essentially, everyone knows what you know. Therefore, great coaches understand this ideology and constantly strive to accelerate their learning. As a coach, you must be committed to life-long learning, honest personal and professional evaluation, and continuous self-improvement.

With that in mind, here are five tips on how to coach employees and the techniques to use during your coaching sessions to step up your game.

1) Focus on the word “Instead”

Have you ever had a coachee that is faced with a problem, but seems lost as to where they actually want to go? If this is the case, there is a simple technique you can use with them when they lose sight of their goal. It can help them get to where they want to go if they aren’t quite sure where that is.

The coaching technique I have found that works well is to use the word “instead”. For instance when your coachee is faced with a big problem…ask them to focus on the following:

  • What do you want to be doing, INSTEAD of what you are doing now?
  • What do you want to be thinking, INSTEAD of what you are thinking now?
  • What do you want to be feeling, INSTEAD of what you are feeling now?
  • What do you want to be saying, INSTEAD of what you are saying now?

Once they determine what they want to do, think, feel and say, you will be surprised at how quickly your coachee can come up with alternative solutions to do INSTEAD of what they are currently doing.

2) 10,000 Hours to Master Your Craft

In the book Outliers: The Story of Success, author Malcolm Gladwell, says that it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field.  To motivate your coachee to step up their game, ask them to think about their goal, and work out how many hours they have put into achieving it. Then have them think about how they can increase these hours, and what they can do to reach their goal.

Asking your coachee to break their goal up into the number of hours they have dedicated to will help them figure out a tactical plan on what they need to do to achieve it, and when. Ask them how will they achieve their goal? Do they need support from anyone else? What resources do they need? If any problems come up then what can they do to overcome this?

Focusing on the fact that everyone needs to put in 10,000 hours to master their craft will help your coachee to push themself beyond what they think they can do. This will help them when they need the extra mental energy to push.

Challenge your coachee to push themselves to take one step further to reach their goals, even when they feel they can’t do anymore.

3) Help Them Learn From Their Mistakes

A technique on coaching and developing employees I find to be helpful for my clients is to encourage them to learn from their mistakes. Albert Einstein once said, “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”

Unfortunately in our society, making mistakes is often frowned upon. However, the purpose of coaching employees is to develop their careers and build meaningful relationships. Mistakes are bound to happen, therefore, the key is for your coachee to learn from their mistakes.

As their coach it is your job to encourage them to try new things…and help them realize that making mistakes should not be so feared or considered taboo. Whatever the past mistakes your coachee feels they have made, as their coach, you need to help them reframe it and look at them as learning opportunities. They need to look back and realize that they made a choice based on the knowledge and experience they had at that particular time, and that’s okay.

If they were faced with making that choice again today, they would make a more informed decision. As a journaling exercise, have your coachee share their learning lessons, and knowing now what they do, have them share how they would make different decisions currently. With their knowledge, ask them what they would do differently today based on what they learned from their mistakes.

4) Set Manageable Goals

To be a better coach, set manageable goals for your employees. Ask your coachee to set a goal that is short and to the point. In the book, Your Brain at Work, author David Rock states, “A goal that is three to seven words is fantastic. If you can’t remember something, it doesn’t live in your world. It’s got to be embedded in your brain.”

Ask your coachee to come up with goals that are expressed positively rather than pessimistically. For instance, “Relax More” versus “Be Less Anxious.” Then ask your coachee to draw out a chart and write down all of the items they want to achieve in one column. In the next seven columns beside each goal ask them to document what they did each day that week to focus on their goal.

By the end of the week, your coachee will have a record of how their week went. Did their actions line up with what they valued or wanted? If not, then why not? Where did their week break down? What areas need their attention?

This is a clear tool and technique for your coachee to see how their actions are lining up with their goals.

5) What Would My Hero Do?

We have all had someone we look up to. It could be a great artist, philanthropist, a fictional hero from the movies or a comic book, or even a mentor or family member.

They embody who you want to be and have something you want. Now ask your coachee what your hero would do to get what they want.

Ultimately your hero is an ideal version of you…a better version of yourself. They will tap into what this third person would do and realize their true potential.  Your coachee will then use the strength, imagination, and qualities that they admire from their hero to get them closer to their own goals.

So there you have it – five coaching points on how to coach employees to help you stay on top of your game. Whether you are a manager or a coach, you need to be constantly finding new techniques that will help you get the best out of your coachee.

To learn more about emotional intelligence and how it benefits your organization, sign up for our biweekly newsletter here, where you will receive our latest updates, an inventory of resources, and much more!

If these five coaching tips above are not enough to help you and your coachee maximize your full potential, connect with us for more tips and programs on how to reach your coaching goals.

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Coaching: Don’t Press Send On That Email!

Coaching: Don’t Press Send On That Email!

Have you ever sent an email message and then regretted it after it was too late?

A rule of thumb should be that whenever you need to have a difficult conversation or give feedback, you do it face-to-face, never send an email.

Words in an email are powerful and can be misconstrued.

 

BODY LANGUAGE SPEAKS VOLUME

Did you know…only 7% of what people hear are words, 38% is the tone of voice, and 55% is body language.  Both the tone of your words, and your body language cannot be seen or heard in an email; therefore, email communication can often be interpreted incorrectly, and the message may not be received with the intention it was sent.

Workplace coaching face-to-face is necessary to ensure your feedback is received appropriately when the need for a difficult conversation arises. Michael Massari, the VP of Caesars Entertainment, discusses with Forbes the importance of face-to-face communication and its impact on collaboration. Regardless of the industry, all businesses require the need to create prosperous partnerships, and that is done through building trust and engaging others in face-to-face communication.

Now, if you are investing this time into business partnerships outside of your organization, you should definitely be investing the same time into your people.

 

So, what drives effective leaders to make email mistakes?

Impulse control.

One of the 15 competencies in EQ-i 2.0 model developed by Multi-Health Systems (MHS) is impulse control – the ability to resist or delay an impulsive, drive, or temptation to act.

It is your impulse control that leads you to spew off a clever and snappy reply to the person who just sent you a nasty email.

But wait, breathe and figure out a strategy on how you are going to broach the difficult subject in person, face-to-face.

Like building any muscle…you need to work it to become stronger. To have bigger biceps, you need to do more bicep curls.

In order to build your emotional muscles, you need to work them.  To become better at controlling your impulses, you need to resist the temptation and don’t send an email, even if you really, really want to.

 

Impulse Control Best Practices

Try these best practices for Feedback that Works from the Harvard Business Review:

  1. Focus on business outcomes
  2. Give feedback often
  3. Don’t assume you are right
  4. Ask questions
  5. Follow-through
  6. Gather feedback on how you give feedback

Use the business outcome as an opportunity to solve problems rather than criticize the person you are speaking with. This allows for the chance for you to align your goals and find a solution together.

“Difficult feedback is rarely about getting the facts right, it’s about conflicting views, feelings and values. Reasonable people differ about all of these things.” – Robert Witherspoon

When you are coaching someone you should be looking at the whole picture, the business goals, their perspective, and the follow-through if necessary. Conducting these meetings face-to-face will build rapport, encourage your team, and develop their commitment to growth, so don’t do it over email!

Take a minute to reflect on your impulse control, does it affect how you respond to your team? Do you fall victim to your impulse control and press send too quickly?

To learn more about emotional intelligence and the purpose of coaching in the workplace, sign up for our biweekly newsletter here, where you will receive our latest updates, an inventory of resources, and much more!

If you need help with coaching and mentoring in the workplace, book a call with us here; we’d love to listen and provide support in any way we can.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or Linkedin to keep up with our latest blogs!