Wake Forest offers tips for mentoring

Wake Forest offers tips for mentoring
December 31
00:00 2015

Special to The Chronicle

January is National Mentoring Month. Wake Forest University asks: Do you have time to mentor?

Effective mentoring requires investing in another person’s growth and development. It is an intentional commitment.

“Mentors share institutional knowledge, develop future leaders, and empower staff for success,” says Allison McWilliams, director of Wake Forest University’s Mentoring Resource Center. “Managers who choose not to mentor their people find their people choose to go elsewhere.”

For those interested in mentoring, McWilliams offers tips for building efficient and effective relationships.

1. Set goals for the relationship and create a learning plan. Effective mentoring requires mutual accountability: both partners should keep their commitments to each other, check-in with each other on a regular basis, and hold each other accountable for doing what they say they will do.

2. Be willing to share stories and trust that the other person will keep confidences.

3. Meet face-to-face. There is no substitute for in-person mentoring. Computers can connect people around the world. Yet, sophisticated technology cannot replicate effective one-on-one relationships. Our high-tech culture makes in-person mentoring invaluable in developing interpersonal skills such as being present to one another, asking good questions, practicing active listening, and seeking out and responding to feedback.

4. Care about the person you are mentoring. Focusing on a mentee’s goals and providing objective feedback and guidance is essential. A mentor can damage another person by using this powerful relationship to influence another’s personal or career choices. Those who do not have any time to invest should not take part in the relationship.

Wake Forest was one of the first higher education institutions in the nation to adopt a campus-wide mentoring model. More information on the University’s Mentoring Resource Center is available here. 

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