20 Apr The Power of Solution-Focused Tools for Successful Mentoring Conversations
In this article we explore the power of tools for mentoring.
“You’re only as good as the tools you use”
This saying has been around for many years and highlights the importance of using the correct tool for the job. It is as relevant for mentoring as it is for anything else.
The Importance of Tools
Tools are the most important items that the ancient humans used to climb to the top of the food chain. By inventing tools, they were able to do things that they could not do before. Using a spear or bow and arrow allowed them to kill prey that they could not manage on their own.
Our world is very different now, but tools are as important as ever. They do the heavy lifting for us and allow us to achieve more than we could alone. They improve our efficiency and our productivity. So, it means that mentors are only as good as the tools that they use, too.
What do we mean by tools?
At the simplest level a tool is something which helps get a job done — but it is not a substitute for the person doing the job. So, mentoring tools are tools that help mentors have meaningful conversations. They empower their mentees to progress, develop and realise their potential.
If you are familiar with our Career Conversation Toolkit, you will know that Team AO are big fans of tools. Conversation tools help conversations be productive. Different tools serve different purposes and help you achieve different things. The tools give you a set of powerful, solution-focused questions to:
- Provoke reflection, insight, ideas and action
- Keep the focus on the other person
- Empower them to take ownership
So, we are very proud to launch our Mentoring Toolkit. This is a toolkit that forms the backbone of our Mentoring for Success Workshop. When someone takes on the role of mentor, we recommend they familiarise themselves with the tools that help mentors be more effective. Our experience is that this builds the confidence of new mentors as well as their effectiveness. Learning the tools is incredibly valuable to their understanding of the role of a mentor.
“The tools have helped me identify ways I can mentor better.”
“I found it very helpful to use the mentoring tools, and for our second meeting, my mentee will be describing what she calls her ‘perfect space’ that is her vision for the future and long-term outcome. I wouldn’t even have thought of starting out this way without the training and the toolkit”.
Don’t let your mentors fall behind
When mentors aren’t provided with the correct tools, they are forced to rely on what is readily available to them. That is usually their natural leadership and management skills. Unfortunately, often this can lead to ineffective mentoring conversations that are no more than a chat. Mentors have huge value to add in sharing their wisdom and experience.
But that sharing needs to be done in a way that empowers mentees. Without tools to help, many new mentors resort to telling their mentees what to do. And that encourages dependence not empowerment.
Our Mentoring Toolkit offers mentors tools that are smarter and more effective. The Mentoring Toolkit provides the practical tools, framework and questions to have effective mentoring conversations that empower mentees to take ownership of their development.
The Mentoring Toolkit allows mentors to:
- Encourage mentees to focus on the areas they can influence so they are empowered to take action
- Help mentees think through what they want to change and develop
- Support mentees to describe their personal vision and goal for development
- Inspire mentees to come up with ideas and solutions on how they might make progress
- Guide and share experience without telling mentees what to do
Make sure you keep up with the changing times by providing your mentors with the most effective tools for their roles. The Mentoring Toolkit to give them the practical tools, framework and questions they need.