Have you been thinking about developing your role as a bid manager into that of a mentor, but you’re not sure where to begin? In this post, we’ll share three tips you can use to hone your mentoring skills... but before we get to that, let’s look at why it’s a good idea to develop these skills in the first place.

Mentoring is beneficial for both you and your mentee. When you become a mentor, you develop your leadership skills, cultivate new high-trust relationships, and develop a high-level self-awareness. Mentees experience improved performance and productivity, are positioned for career growth opportunities, gain more confidence, and develop a stronger sense of commitment and motivation in their roles.  

Coach or mentor?

Mentoring is often confused with coaching but there are clear differences between the two. For example, coaching is usually task orientated, whereas mentoring is much broader. Coaching helps develop specific skills, while mentoring is about helping someone realize their full potential. Coaches set agendas for people, while mentors develop agendas with people.

Here are three things we’ve found to be  most important for aspiring mentors.

1. Work hard on your communication skills

Effective communication is invaluable in the workplace, and without it very little can be accomplished. A research study by the Robert H. Smith School of Business found that poor communication in hospitals costs the US $12 billion a year!

When you become a mentor, you'll have to listen intently, ask questions to better understand your mentee’s challenges, speak clearly, get your point across effectively, and be able to pick up on nonverbal cues.

These skills will shape the development of your mentee and can directly influence their growth, as well as the strength of your relationship with them.

How to become a mentor - active listening

How be an active listener – image: Abby’s One True Gift

2. Be constructive and positive

Many of the interactions that you have with your mentee are going to be about challenges they're facing on a personal level or on the job. You need to be able to understand what they're going through in order to help them overcome the challenges and identify areas for growth.

Being constructive and positive requires that you suspend judgment and keep an open mind. This approach allows you to strengthen your relationship and opens your mentee to being challenged to find answers or think outside of their comfort zone.

3. Always have a plan

Great mentors focus on action that encourages their mentee to think creatively and develop problem-solving skills. 

Having an action plan that both you and your mentee agree to will help you both maintain  momentum for mutually beneficial growth.

Keep notes and develop timelines that you both agree to, and follow up regularly to ensure that your mentee stays on track.

Build a highly effective proposal team

 We worked with leading proposal team experts at Bid Solutions to create a helpful practical guide to developing a highly effective proposal team.

Download the guide below.