5 Tips to help your mentee develop collaborative work skills
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1. Assess their current level

1.1 For many years I have been using a simple method of assessing collaboration skills that allows me to assess the current state of the mentee quite close to reality (in addition to traditional surveys, interviews, etc.); I want to share this with you.

1.2 What kind of method is this? Create a real test task in the task manager (with a full description, etc.), work on it and complete it with your mentee as a team. Based on the real work situation, the real actions of the mentee, you will be able to see a large number of real aspects that are difficult to notice when passing surveys and interviews.

1.3 Based on the results and your expert opinion, create a list of the mentee's strengths and weaknesses, with specific recommendations for each.

2. Set clear goals and expectations

2.1 Based on the assessment methods described in the previous paragraph, the list of strengths and weaknesses of the mentee and recommendations, conduct a strategy session with the mentee.

2.2 During the strategy session, outline what key growth areas you see and clarify what growth areas the mentee sees. Based on the discussion, you should select those areas that you both think need attention first.

2.3 Based on the results of discussion, formulate goals for the next month, six months and year; your overall task now is to realistically, clearly and specifically formulate your mentee's goals and prepare a plan to achieve them.

3. Provide feedback and coaching

3.1 A regime of regular training and feedback: create new tasks for your collaboration with your mentee, control the tasks that the mentee is engaged in, monitor changes in skills and the compliance of the movement with his goals, etc.

3.2 Be a navigator who diligently and sincerely assists the pilot. In the daily routine, the mentee may lose sight of a number of both good and bad aspects in order to achieve goals - your task is to insure him against this.

3.3 Exchange feedback regularly; this is extremely important for the mentee’s stable and confident movement towards the goals and the formation of strong relationships between mentor and mentee.

4. Encourage collaboration and learning

4.1 It is important to understand that when we talk about strengthening skills, we are talking primarily about real practice. Just like in order to learn to ride a bicycle, we need to develop a skill; of course, this does not exclude theoretical and mental preparation, but practice is crucial.

4.2 If you see additional opportunities for developing the necessary skills, inform your mentee about this and direct him there. If the number of opportunities is limited, create opportunities yourself. Please remember that the mentee needs real practical experience.

5. Model and share best practices

5.1 In addition to real collaboration tasks, you can use simulated work situations. What’s good about modeling is that you can create any, even the most unexpected, situation and carefully analyze down to the smallest detail the key actions necessary in a given situation. This approach allows the mentee to simultaneously train collaboration, critical thinking and stress tolerance.

5.2 When modeling a situation, a good approach is to first give the mentee the opportunity to act, and then give feedback on the results of the actions. Please provide constructive, respectful, honest feedback. Most often, there are no completely right or completely wrong actions - it is important to focus on the logic of thinking of the mentee.

Key points

1. Collaboration is one of the key skills of any team member. Regardless of what a member's activity is and what tasks he performs, in a team environment he must cooperate in any case.

2. The demand in the labor market for employees capable of collaboration is high. Despite the apparent obviousness of this skill, not everyone knows how to collaborate, not everyone understands it, and not everyone wants to work on it. I hope that the recommendations described in the previous paragraphs of the article will be useful to mentors and their mentees.

Good luck!
Methodologist of Guidbase
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