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Chapter 8. Be a Leader, Be a Coach > Mentoring: The Two-Sided Training Experien... - Pg. 96

Be a Leader, Be a Coach A mentor is a team member assigned to act as counselor, trainer, and "big brother" or "big sister" to another member. 96 Team leaders are busy people. Often they just don't have enough time to give to associates, par- ticularly newcomers to the team. One solution: Appoint an experienced team member to mentor the newcomer. Don't always select the same member; every associate should have the opportunity to undertake this role. A structured mentoring program requires that people chosen to be mentors be willing to take on the job. Compelling someone to be a mentor is self-defeating. Everybody is not interested in or qualified for it. However, if in your judgment the person who declines the assignment is really qualified, but is shy or lacks the self-confidence, have a heart-to-heart talk about how--by accepting the task-- both the member and the team will benefit. New mentors should be trained by experienced people in the art of mentoring. Both the mentor and the person who is mentored benefit from the process. Obviously, those who are mentored learn much from the process, but equally important, the mentors gain by sharpening their skills in order to pass them on. It heightens the mentors' sense of responsibility as they guide their protégés through the maze of company policies and politics. It also makes them more effective in their interpersonal relationships. Ten Tips for New Mentors When a team leader appoints a mentor, give that person a thorough orientation on the art of men- toring. If they have had a successful personal experience with a mentor, use that as a model. If not, suggest that another member who has been a successful mentor become the team member's men-