At Stupid Studio, we like to use a mix of one-on-one mentoring and what we call "reciprocal mentoring", which fits neatly with our flat organisational structure and values. Our approach is all about asking questions, being good listeners, and giving feedback, rather than just telling people what to do. In this mentoring setup, it's a learning experience for both sides, where everyone's picking up something from each other.
Mentorships work best when the Mentee is in the driver's seat. In this Mentee-led setup, it's the Mentee who decides when and what to talk about during meetings. This way, they can steer the sessions to match their needs and goals. The Mentor's job is to make sure the environment is safe and trustworthy so the Mentee can freely ask those career and personal growth questions that might be holding them back.
The mentoring gig can be a win-win for both the Mentor and the Mentee. Here are a few ways it can benefit you both.
Benefits for the Mentor — you can pick up and level up a bunch of skills. For example, become a better listener, improve your communication, boost your leadership abilities, and get more empathetic. You can also get better at looking inward, understanding your strengths and weaknesses, and basically feel good for sharing your knowledge and skills.
Benefits for the Mentee — being in a mentorship can help you learn and grow in your professional and personal life. It's your chance to discover and build new skills and knowledge while receiving valuable, honest feedback. This experience can make setting and achieving clear career goals feel way more attainable, thanks to the support you'll get along the way.
Coach and guide
Give structure to the mentorship. Share knowledge and experience. Provide suggestions of relevant literature and inspiration. Ask open questions instead of giving simple direction. Empower the Mentee with advice to tackle challenges that might arise.
Be confident and encourage confidence
Act as a non-judgemental sounding board and facilitator. Maintain privacy and confidentiality.
Show leadership and empathy
Give needed support by boosting morale and enhancing self-esteem. Show compassion and understanding. Help celebrate both successes and failures. Be open and receptive to the Mentee's feedback.
Challenge to drive progress
Help the Mentee explore their full potential. Be positive and structured in your feedback. Encourage and push the Mentee towards higher standards.
Take the driver's seat
Take ownership of the mentorship experience. Set realistic objectives and goals for the mentorship. Communicate the intentions of each meeting to the Mentor, focusing on desired outcomes.
Be hungry for growth
Seek advice, opinions, feedback and direction from the Mentor. Be open and receptive to both positive and negative feedback.
Be proactive and committed
Work on the assigned tasks before each meeting. Attend relevant trainings and activities. Face obstacles and challenges that might arise head-on.
Make communication a priority
Be open and honest when communicating with your Mentor. Share feelings and concerns, successes and failures. Give constructive feedback to the Mentor. Ask stupid questions when needed!