On any given day, especially in a busy agency environment, it can be difficult to stop and prioritise the important things in life. After a really long day or a full-on week with client meetings, multiple press releases written or projects started, the last thing we might feel like doing is learning. However, I haven’t met anyone who regrets making the time for growing themselves and their leadership skills.
Often the best time to learn can be when the going gets tough or you have multiple parties to satisfy. This is the time that requires the most discipline, honesty and professionalism. You need to surround yourselves with people who have your best interests at heart and in whose opinion, you trust.
Learning, as we all know can come from many different sources, such as books, online courses and experiences that we can reflect on, but have you ever thought about how important it can be to learn from your own peers?
At KC Communications, we have recently embarked on a peer mentoring scheme with Natasha McCreesh – Founder of PIP to Grow Strong, a coaching, mentoring and collaboration business.
Here, Natasha gives her advice on how to be a good peer mentor.
As a mentor, your role is to ask questions, listen to responses, reflect back on what you have heard and encourage positive, future-focused goal creation.
In order to become a good mentor, you need to be CRAFTY!*
Curious – be genuinely interested in your mentee’s perspective
Responsive – connect with how your mentee is feeling, their mood and motivation
Assertive – be firm and persistent in encouraging clear, measurable and timed goals
Focused – be present, keep an eye on your framework and manage the session time
Thoughtful – be considerate of your mentee’s personality type and needs
Yes – create a positive environment with a ‘yes’ attitude to making progress
It is imperative that as a mentor you have clear boundaries. You are NOT expected to solve problems, or do the work for your mentee, they own their action plan and are 100% accountable for acting on their goals.
You are not a counsellor, if you find yourself in this territory, reflect this back to your mentee and suggest that they seek professional support.
You can encourage and support your mentee to have tricky conversations or to raise concerns, but you don’t have to be an advocate for their ‘cause’.
It is important to form a solid agreement with your mentee; you invest your time with respect, by listening carefully and encouraging open sharing of goals and fears, your mentee is asked to be honest and responsive to your questions.
Demonstrate that you value your mentee, by showing up wholeheartedly, honouring your commitments and being present, and ask them to do the same.
Finally, make sure that you do what you say you are going to do, accept and admit when you can’t and ask your mentee to do the same.
As we have experienced already, a great mentor won’t give you the answer – they will assist you in making the right decision. So, as you consider your next learning opportunity, have a think about a peer mentor programme. Make it a priority and get started!
Kirstie Wilson, Account Manager at KC Communications, said of the Peer Mentoring: ““Peer mentoring has really helped me progress in my role but also develop in myself. Being mentored has allowed me to recognise my strengths and work to them. Setting achievable goals has not only allowed me to advance my skills but also get a sense of achievement whenever I meet them.
“Mentoring my colleagues has been invaluable as I’ve learned the different ways in which members of the team work, allowing me to work more collaboratively and with more understanding of individuals.”
*adapted from Mosaic’s How to be a Mosaic Mentor