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Some Notes About Mentoring

As most of us continue on our career paths we eventually end up in a position of mentoring.  To be asked to take on this responsibility says that you are trusted and considered knowledgeable.  There are a few things you will want to remember as you take on this role.

First, allow the person you are mentoring to learn as much on their own as possible.  They cannot learn to stand on their own if you are constantly spoon feeding them answers to every problem that comes up.  Instead answer a question with another question.  Ask the person where they think the answer might be.  Many times having someone talk through problem will allow them to realize they already know the answer.  The funny thing is that this also works as a device for solving your own problems.

Of course you have to explain the basics of a subject area before a person can start to find things on their own.  This brings me to the second point.  When downloading information do not overload the person you are mentoring.  There is only so much that anyone can absorb in one sitting.  Cut your topics into multiple small sessions and let the person go back and come up with questions.  This will give them a much better understanding of the topic.

The last point is to realize that you can learn as much as you are teaching.  If you follow the second point then you may find that your student will come up with approaches to problems that you had not previously thought of.  Do not spend you time lecturing.  Listen as much as you talk and you can both learn more.

[PS] Andrew, sorry about the deficit of reading material.  We wouldn't want you to get bored.

posted on Tuesday, March 6, 2007 10:51 AM Print
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# re: Some Notes About Mentoring
Scott Miller
3/6/2007 12:55 PM
Tip 2:
If you get the suspicion that you are mentoring the person so that they can take over your job, don't teach them anything significant!
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# re: Some Notes About Mentoring
Tim Murphy
3/6/2007 5:56 PM
Scott,

I am usually looking for someone to take over my current position so I can move on to the next project. If you want to come learn my job you are more than welcome to it.

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Tim Murphy

Tim is a Solutions Architect for PSC Group, LLC. He has been an IT consultant since 1999 specializing in Microsoft technologies. Along with running the Chicago Information Technology Architects Group and speaking on Microsoft and architecture topics he was also contributing author on "The Definitive Guide to the Microsoft Enterprise Library".



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