Mentoring is a skill like any other. It’s not something you decide to do one day out of the blue. It requires discipline for both you as the mentor, as well as the people you are mentoring.
The first requirement to be a good mentor is to ensure your mentees will do what you ask. If they don’t take the arrangement seriously, you are going to waste your time. Therefore, don’t agree to mentor people just because they ask. Instead, try to get more information about their work ethics, etc. Also, try to ascertain if they are motivated and proactive. These are your ideal candidates to help.
You want to set up rules right from the start. Determine what your responsibilities will be as well as what you expect from the people you mentor. It’s even better if you get this in writing. Recording the duties ensures there are no misunderstandings later.
Define boundaries as much as possible. For example, it’s okay to tell your mentees to call you after work hours once in a while. However, don’t let them call you for every minute detail. Let them know ahead of time for what reasons they can contact you.
Be firm in your expectations. If someone is not living up to what you expect of them, you may need to terminate the arrangement. It’s up to you if you want to give them a second chance. Your time is valuable, however. Don’t let them take advantage of you. If they aren’t willing to do what you ask, you need to move on.
If you are mentoring for pay, don’t sell yourself short. Mentors are expensive for a reason. Make sure you give great value for the money but expect to be compensated well for your efforts. In many ways, your fee is a good litmus test. Those who aren’t willing to fork up the money for your services will not be good candidates for mentoring them. You may believe it takes more effort to get high-paying clients, but you would be surprised how this isn’t true. If you are good and can back it up, you will easily find people willing to pay your fee.
You should develop a decent network of people as a mentor. Good mentors have connections who they can call upon frequently. This ability will only work if you keep in contact with your network. Make time in your schedule to nurture your networking relationships to use them to benefit yourself and the people you mentor.