8 Steps to Being an Expert Mentor

Mike GeorgionStand back and feel proud.
That’s the reward for good mentoring.
Mike Georgion (pictured here), once my boss, was also an expert mentor.
What made Mike such an expert? Here are eight of his secrets:
1. He gave me plentiful positive recognition for what I did well.
2. Later, when my confidence was strong, he privately asked me to take on a big project (a scary one with visibility to the whole organization).
3. He told me his specific goals, and seeing my reluctance, asked me to think about it for a week and jot down any ideas which came to me.
4. He put the next week’s meeting on both our calendars.

Half-a-dozen times a day that week, exciting ideas popped into my head. By the next meeting, I’d filled two pages.

5. During our meeting, Mike listened while I read my ideas, never editing or commenting, just smiling and nodding.
6. When I finished, Mike asked, “What’s next?”

I began rattling off a timetable and list of steps I wanted to take.

7. Mike agreed to all, and suggested another meeting, where he promised to give feedback on the progress I’d made.
8. After giving valuable feedback which helped me improve some of my ideas, Mike asked, “How can I help you?”

At this moment, it hit me: this project has now become mine, not his. And that’s exactly how I wanted it.

How did Mike make this magical transformation occur?

We might say that Mike knew when to offer a challenge, back off, stand in the wings, and feel proud . . . expertly!