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How to mentor people without even really trying…..

There is clearly a big drive at the moment for businesses and other organisations to try and encourage managers and people of influence to mentor people. There is clearly a benefit to doing this for both parties but take-up is generally low and this because of the perceived time and  commitment it requires to work with a person. If it is in working time, it is usually more workable, but when it encroaches on downtime and personal time, this is where the takeup drops off.  However, it doesn’t have to be as arduous or as long as you may expect. If the agreed goals and expectations and committed time are set at the beginning and there is an emphasis on the mentee committing to doing something with the information and advice they get, then it can work quite satisfactorily.

However, if this is not for you but you still want to help, then there is another way. Some of the most inspiring, positive, motivational conversations I have had personally, have come randomly from complete strangers, with no knowledge of me and with a totally different background and perspective. What I am encouraging here is to have real honest dialogue with people on a regular basis. People are technically more connected than ever with social media, but socially more disconnected , making real conversations that much more valuable.

How to start doing this is to start talking to people about what they do, what they like, and where they aspire to be in the future. Simple questions will get people opening up about themselves, and within 5-10 minutes of conversation you may find that through the conversation the person is inspired to follow a particular course of action, or more motivated in their career now they have spoken to you. Who knows what the ripple effect will be? So many people suffer from confidence issues either from their upbringing, their age, their abilities, their circumstances, or even from their relationship with their manager, that an element of positivity and encouragement can have a massive impact on a persons’ psyche and their career path.

Over the last 6 months I have encouraged people I know to apply for jobs that they believed were unachievable (but they got them), take up more exercise in different formats, reignite their old hobbies, change their mindset and reframe incidents from their past, ask for payrises (and get them), and generally start to believe in themselves again and re-value themselves.

Positive conversation is an amazing tool, and we should do more of it.

If you would like Tansy’s help for any HR or personal confidence issue, please email: or 0203 369 8955





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