If you’re in a good position in your industry, it’s likely you didn’t do it all alone. Most people begin at the bottom and work their way up with the help of others, so why not pay it back and become a mentor?
No matter what industry you’re in, being a mentor is an important role. As a mentor, you’re responsible for training up the next generation of industry experts.
While mentoring someone takes time and effort, there are numerous ways in which you will benefit from the experience as well. Not only will you change someone’s life by allowing them to join the industry, but you’ll gain a new perspective and fresh ideas, strengthen the skills and knowledge you already have and improve productivity.
So, what qualities make a good mentor?
Let People Make Mistakes
One of the best ways to learn is to make mistakes, so don’t rush to correct errors too soon. Although no one likes getting things wrong, there are some benefits. If a trainee makes a mistake, they will be presented with the opportunity to identify what went wrong and why. This, in turn, will help them to understand better how and why something works and the best way to go about the task next time.
To be a good mentor, you must have patience. The trainee you’re mentoring will be new to the industry and probably have little prior experience. It’s expected that they’ll make mistakes. This will decrease the rate of work, but it’s all part of the learning process. Remember that you were in their position once, so help them where you can rather than getting impatient.
Share Your Knowledge
Naturally, to be a good mentor, you will need to have plenty of knowledge in the field – and be confident with it. No one wants to learn from someone who is second-guessing themselves and their skills. If you need to brush up on a few aspects of the role beforehand, make sure you do, but be confident in knowing what you’re doing.
If you think a trainee is doing a good job, let them know. If a customer has provided positive feedback about a job or project, share it with them. Positive feedback makes people feel appreciated and confirms that they’re doing a good job. Therefore, it will motivate your trainee to keep up the good work and improve.
Express Your Passion
You’re in the industry because you love it, so allow that to come through while you’re mentoring. Show excitement for the job at hand – looking at it as an interesting puzzle to complete, not an issue to be dealt with. Speak positively about your company, role and customers. Show that you’re passionate and that passion will pass onto your trainee.
Set Aside Time To Chat
Communication is vital, making it essential that you set time aside to talk to your trainee. This could be about the project you’re working on, the industry in general or even just a bit of chit-chat to get to know one another better. The more you get to know each other, the more you’ll both feel comfortable in a working environment.
“When you mentor someone long-term, you really get to know and understand their personality, learning style, and goals, which can set you up to offer richer, more relevant advice over time.” Source:Hubspot
Display A Good Work Ethic
Don’t forget, a trainee is learning from you, so displaying a good work ethic is vital. If a trainee sees you keen to get to work and enjoying the job, that kind of attitude will rub off on them. With that in mind, make sure you’re on time to work each day, producing high-quality work and remain professional.
Pay Attention To Detail
The devil is in the detail. If you don’t go into detail for each task or project you’re training someone to do, they could end up stumped when they go it alone. It may take more time to explain every aspect of a task to them, but it will be time well spent when you see the trainee complete work independently.
Become a Mentor With Options Skills
At Options Skills, we’re always looking for qualified gas engineers to act as mentors to our trainees. During step two of our ACS Domestic Gas Course, our students work on-site to gain skills, knowledge and experience. To do so, they’ll need a good mentor to guide them and share their expertise. If you’re interested, take a look at our Become a mentor page for more information.