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4 Ways To Prepare For Being A LevelNext Mentor

In the business world (or rather, any competitive environment), most people start at the bottom and work their way up — but they often don’t do it alone. As a seasoned expert, you’ve likely been in a position at one point in your career where you received advice from a mentor that shaped who you are as a professional. Now, it’s time for you to pass that knowledge on to someone else who needs it. But before you get started just yet, there are some steps you need to take in order to ensure you’re ready to be a mentor. 

Believe it or not, not every mentor is a natural born leader. For some, it may take years to develop the right communication and listening skills for the job. For others, acting as the authority in a teacher-student environment comes easy. Regardless of which category you fall into, here are some tips for how you can best prepare yourself for being the best LevelNext mentor possible. 

Get Acquainted With Your Mentee

It may seem obvious, but one of the most important things you can do before taking up the mantle of a LevelNext mentor is to get to know your mentee. What are their career aspirations? What are they currently struggling with that you can help solve? Schedule a meeting with your mentee and come prepared with a list of questions that will help clarify their needs. Start with an overview of their background and goals, then dig deeper. By the end of the first meeting, you should feel acquainted enough with your mentee to the point where both of you can start feeling more comfortable peeling back the layers. 

Organize Your Curriculum Empathetically

Remember what it was like when you were still finding your footing earlier in your career? Keep that mind as you organize your mentoring curriculum. In order to be a great mentor, you need to be empathetic to your mentee’s struggles. Put yourself in their shoes as you find material and resources to guide them. What is something you wish you would have known as a young professional? What would have helped you take the next step in your career sooner? Asking yourself these questions will put you in the right mindset to advise your mentee effectively. 

Plan Your Communication

You and your mentee could be two peas in a pod in every way possible — but if your communication styles don’t complement each other, the relationship as a whole likely won’t be sustainable. That’s why it is critical to identify your mentee’s communication style early on and adapt yours accordingly. For instance, if your mentee is sensitive to criticism, it may help to offer a little positive reinforcement before giving feedback to help them feel more more self-assured. It’s also a good idea to know what communication outlets your mentee uses the most. If they prefer email over talking on the phone, take that into consideration as you plan your correspondence with then in the future. 

Have An Open Mind 

You have gotten to the position you are in today by doing things “right” — but there are many right ways to solve a problem. As a mentor, it is important that you keep an open mind when offering advice to your mentee. Your past experiences may not be as relevant to professionals today as they once were, and that’s OK. Be willing to step outside of your comfort zone and adapt your teachings to fit the needs of your mentee. In some cases, it may be better to allow your mentee to even try out their own approaches. Sure, they may fail. But who knows? At the end of the day, the two of you may walk away from the experience having learned something new. Remember, no career pathway is going to look exactly the same as yours, but with a little luck and determination, both can have the same outcome.

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