“It’s important to fully understand the situation before giving advice”
- Jeremy Boon, Analytics Technology Manager @ Deloitte, Mentor and Advisor
Meet Jeremy Boon, recognised as one of the Top 100 most influential BAME tech leaders in the UK & Europe. Amsterdam based mentor, public speaker and diversity advisor. Here sharing his thoughts around mentorship!
· What skills does a good mentor need to have?
For me this boils down to three key skills:
1. Listening. This cannot be understated. We are often so focused on replying and continuing a conversation that we do not take the time to truly listen. A good mentor should come with an open mind and be ready to hear and focus on the other person. One way to ensure this is to actively remove distractions for the time you’re with your mentee — find a suitable place, put your phone/laptop away and focus.
2. Curiosity. Yes, as mentor you need to give advice but to do this effectively you need to be interested in other people, their aspirations and challenges. This doesn’t mean that you and the mentee must share the exact same interests (in fact it can be more beneficial if you are quite different), but you should be able to demonstrate a genuine interest in their life.
3. A willingness to seek to understand before being understood. This comes from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective people (which I would also recommend reading) and it is particularly relevant for mentoring. As a mentor, you want to help the other person and impart your advice and wisdom. The challenge is; which advice is most relevant and useful at the
time? When talking to a mentee it is important to fully understand the situation before giving advice. I’ve been guilty in the past of hearing a certain word or phrase from a mentee (e.g. “looking for promotion”) and jumping to what I thought as the answer, without truly understanding the what, why, how etc of their specific situation. Taking the time to ask clarification questions and develop a solid understanding helps improve your impact as
· What was the one stand-out piece of advice given to you by one of your mentors?
It is very difficult to pick just one. Good advice should be assembled like a set of tools. You want to have a variety so that you can pick the right tool when a specific situation occurs — that could be a bit of advice in itself! Though, if I have to pick one, I would go with ”learn with intention”. Specialization in your field of expertise has long been the path to success, and while this is still for the most part true, there is a growing need in today’s economy to broaden your knowledge. As more companies and industries converge, real growth opportunities are being created in cross-disciplinary fields which require knowledge of multiple fields of study. As you have only one life to lead, you need to be strategic in your learning. To learn with intention means firstly accepting that you will be learning throughout your life. Secondly, realizing that you need to actively keep in mind in which areas you want to have beginner, apprentice, expert or master level knowledge (knowing that you cannot be expert in everything) and assigning your time accordingly. Time is the only true limiting factor on what you can potentially achieve!
·What attracted you to Connect Mentors?
The simplicity of the platform. We all lead increasingly busy lives and so finding a way which can simply connect those looking to offer their time and expertise with others reaching out, was the most attractive feature for me.
Head over to www.connectmentors.com and get matched with your mentor today!