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Mentoring Pearls of Wisdom

Updated: Aug 31, 2019

There are many pearls of wisdom to be offered on mentoring and lots of us may feel that we know what it’s all about. Strange then that mentoring partnerships continue to have challenges and that some simple but key issues seem to be at the root time and again. So, below is a quick reminder of a few points to consider with enough pearls of wisdom offered for you to make a necklace from. So, either wear the ‘pearls of wisdom necklace’ with pride or gift it to others, but whatever, polish those pearls and make yourself shine in mentoring.

Hello Mentee! -

1. You are the one driving your development.

Are you ready to invest the time and energy in your own development? It will be up to you to take the initiative and do the hard work to gain the prize.

2. Define the ground rules and expectations together.

This is a partnership. You have the unique good fortune to have an experienced and trusted adviser to help you. Lay a path out together and you’ll find it much easier and more effective to work together.

3. Expect support, not miracles.

Your mentor is there to guide, support, offer other perspectives and at times, challenge you. They do not have a magic wand and they aren’t there to solve your problems for you.

4. Be like a sponge.

Be open to learning, absorbing new ideas and approaches, and respect, though not necessarily accept, your mentor’s views. Absorb all this and decide what, from all this richness, you will take on board.

5. Share data you already have.

You may well already have feedback, appraisals, psychometrics and self-assessments. Use the data. These are all useful to inform your discussions, even if you don’t agree with them or it’s not all glowing. It’s OK; your mentor will appreciate your trust in them by sharing this.

Hello Mentor! -

1. Hold confidentiality as sacrosanct.

They say there are six degrees of separation between everyone in the world –oil and gas industry, you’ll be lucky if there are two degrees of separation! So, be especially mindful of confidentiality when mentoring. It’s not a secret that you are the mentor to someone, but beyond that, it’s beholden to you to agree with the individual what is to be shared further. Even that ‘throw away’ comment can be too much.

2. Be generous.

Be generous of time, of spirit, of sharing your networks and your energy and ideas. Ensure that feedback is offered with positive intent to support development.

3. Consider who is really learning from whom.

You too have much to learn, dear mentor. You have a fabulous opportunity to be exposed to others’ opinions, diversity, insights and experience. Be open to asking for (and hearing) the feedback your mentee might have for you.

4. It’s about them, it’s not about you.

Whilst the mentee is there to seek your advice and guidance, remember it is their agenda, their story. Be interested in them, tune up your listening skills to really ‘hear’ them, be mindful in giving them quality, useful feedback and don’t be afraid to show you are proud of their progress.

5. You are not the sole provider.

Sometimes you might feel that you are out of your depth and anyway, it gets tiring being Super Man/Woman all the time. Know what your own ‘kryptonite’ might be and go seek out help or direct your mentee to others if needed. (Bearing confidentiality in mind of course). Role modelling the act of pulling in other support can be powerful.

Lastly for both Mentees and Mentors – Just enjoy the mentoring ride! There’s a cheesy saying about friends – ‘friends are for a reason, a season or a lifetime’. Mentoring partnerships are a bit like that – short term and specific or can last for years.

Whatever, polish those pearls and have fun.

Susan Gordon, AXIS Network mentoring lead


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