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Advice for first-time mentors

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Are you mentoring an employee or fellow co-worker for the first time? Ensure that you don’t botch this important task by following these tips:

Work with mentees to set goals. Talk about what they hope to gain from the relationship. Together set three concrete goals to ensure that you can meet those expectations.

Be honest. Offering negative feedback is not easy for some people, but you won’t benefit mentees if you never address their flaws. While you should always be respectful, you should be providing advice for how they can improve their weaknesses.

Remember what it was like to be them. While you may be far removed from their situation, remember what it was like when you were in their shoes. Share your own stories of failures when you were at their point in your career, along with the lessons you learned. Your advice will be more meaningful.

Meet regularly. If you commit to being a mentor, you need to make it a priority. Schedule regular coaching sessions—at least monthly but weekly is ideal. They don’t have to be long. Even a quick 10-minute chat can do wonders for mentees; however, do work in longer, more in-depth sessions.

— Adapted from “Virgin Mentor? Seven Tips to Ensure You Deliver,” Shraga Zaltzman, City A.M., www.cityam.com.

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