Coaching your team to success requires more than just a willing mentee but the right approach and environment. Yesterday, Fortune focused on using web-based software to provide a useful assist to aspiring coaches.
Online coaching software has become popular because of the increased reach it offers a company. Web platforms allow mentors to connect with and advise a wider array of employees in a large organization—including those outside their immediate team. Just as important, coaching can happen even when the mentor and mentee are located in different geographies.
But a common misconception addressed in the article is that online coaching will somehow replace or minimize the importance of building face-to-face relationships. Instead, web-based tools allow for the relationship between a coach and her team to deepen and develop between face-to-face meetings.
Here are some useful tips for both mentors and mentees—and a few important rules to live by:
Key Tips Both Sides Can Learn From:
1) Set Specific Goals to Achieve. Establishing key objectives and results for a mentee to work toward helps both sides focus on what’s most important.
2) Be Selective in Your Choice. While we don’t always have a choice in who our manager or our employee will be, when it comes to informal mentoring, we do. So make sure your prospective mentor or mentee is the right fit—based on what he or she is hoping to achieve and what you are able to provide.
3) Look for Matching Areas of Experience. There’s a reason why it makes sense to sometimes select mentors based on shared interests, such as finance or marketing. The mentor will have specific insights into how to be successful in that sphere. (But rules were made to be broken; sometimes rapport trumps subject-matter expertise.)
4) Let the Mentee Lead Too. Some responsibility must fall on the mentee to guide the sessions and make the most out of their time. Placing the onus on the mentee to be successful empowers them to learn as opposed to being spoon-fed.
5) Good Mentors Push Expectations. Someone who can step back and have an outsider’s view may be the best person to see what the mentee cannot — and highlight hidden strengths and abilities. This type of exploration is what leads to innovation and success in a company.
6) Make it a Regular Date. Maintaining a regularly scheduled coaching session (weekly, bi-weekly) helps keep a mentee on track. This way the conversation can revolve around the progress of goals and keep the relationship focused on improvement and success.
7) Establish Ground Rules. Before beginning any relationship, it is important for each side to lay out what could be potential stumbling blocks, or to discuss confidentiality, in case it doesn’t work out.
The mentor-mentee relationship isn’t just a one-way street. Indeed, research has shown that mentors benefit from time spent with a mentee by giving them perspective. Talking to a younger counterpart can reengage and connect them to their company and even inform them about the latest developments in their field.
To read Fortune’s article in full, click here.