There are different types of mentoring styles. These mentor styles vary to cater towards different personality types and learning styles. Also, different mentoring styles help with unique skills that mentees want to learn. These styles help bring out the best in mentees, while also providing mentors with different ways to reach out to others and really make an impact. The five types of mentoring styles are:
- Challenger - This type of mentor pushes a mentee, asks the hard questions, plays the devil's advocate, and makes sure the mentee is really focused on their end goal. The challenger will also make sure to focus on the details, so the mentee will realize the importance of their particular goal. Challengers are less friends and more drill sergeants of the mentor community. They are supportive but more firm than the rest of the mentoring styles.
- Cheerleader - This type of mentoring is meant to cheer on a mentee, through staying positive and noticing all the growth and change a mentee is making. If a mentee makes a mistake, the cheerleader focuses on how the mistake will help the mentee grow. There is no negativity, and no pushing, just subtle and positive ideas.
- Educator - This mentoring style is meant to teach mentees. A background in education or training would be key for this type of mentoring. The educator will take the time to create and execute trainings to help a mentee learn and develop. This style is positive but still pushes a mentee to excel. Educators will also study the mentee, understand where their skills are lacking, and where they need to educate the mentee differently to help fix those deficiencies.
- Ideator - The ideator, or idea maker, is a mentor that helps the mentee brainstorm and think bigger than perhaps they do typically. This mentoring style focuses on thinking, planning, and dreaming. They will push a mentee that has little to no ambition, and encourage them to value their skills and selves more. This will push them to strive to accomplish even larger tasks.
- Connector - The connector, or networker, helps mentees network socially, online, and in person. They will connect their mentee with people they know can help the mentee with their specific goals. They also help the mentee learn how to network themselves, so they know what events to attend or places to go to really get to know the right people.
What Style Do You Use?
Now that you know the variations of mentorships, when are appropriate times to use them? Here are some examples:
In the first example, Kim is incredibly shy, but she has gotten into a prestigious firm in an entry level position. She knows she needs management experience to move up, but she is afraid of her own shadow. This is where Miranda comes in. She starts mentoring Kim as a cheerleader. She stays positive, focuses on all the good skills that Kim has, and does not become critical in any way.
Over the tenure of their relationship, Miranda slowly changes her mentoring style to an ideator. Miranda starts helping Kim think of ideas on how to manage in the firm. As Kim becomes more confident in herself, Miranda starts to become the challenger. She pushes Kim to become stronger and more confident in her management skills, no longer coddling her but showing Kim that she has the ability to accomplish her goals.
In the second example, Aaron is a passionate entrepreneur. He is determined to get his personal investment business up and running. He tends to be a bit gruff and over-confident. This is where Adam comes in.
He is a well-established entrepreneur, and uses the challenger mentor type with Aaron. He questions all of Aaron's ideas, makes him really think out his plans, and pushes him. Once Aaron starts thinking more like a businessman and less arrogantly, then Adam becomes the ideator. He helps Aaron brainstorm ideas for his business and assists Aaron in taking all his innovative ideas and formulating them into working plans. Once Aaron is more foundationally sound, Adam becomes a connector and introduces Aaron to many of his contacts, to help him really get into the investing business.
There are five different mentoring styles that help mentor reach different personality types and hone different skills. The mentoring styles are:
- Challenger - Strong and challenges the mentee's ideas
- Cheerleader - Positive and supportive, always finds the good even in bad situations
- Educator - Trains and educates the mentee, while trying to figure out where the mentee is weak so the training can be tailored to his/her specific needs
- Ideator - The idea maker or brainstormer of the mentoring styles, who helps mentees put ideas into action
- Connector - The networker of mentors that helps mentees to get in touch with the right people
Each mentoring style is unique but can be used homogeneously to work with a mentee long term.