Another role of a mentor is helping your advisee develop plans for the future. These plans can be near term (e.g., 3-6 months) or longer term (6 months – 5 years). This planning ahead process is primarily one of exploring options rather than dictating a future plan.
Here are some guidelines for helping your advisee plan ahead:
- Identify the critical things on the horizon that your advisee must be aware of. These will be things that must be done or future progress will be stalled.
- Layout an array of options for the near term. Narrow these down to 2-3 depending upon your advisee’s interests.
- For each option, help your advisee think through the most relevant steps to support that option.
- Once step (3) is done, work with your advisee to see where these steps will likely end up in 2/3 years. This analysis may help narrow down the options to ones that are most realistic.
- Show your advisee how to track progress toward his/her plan and how to adjust the plan if needed.
One thing is critical when you help an advisee plan ahead You have to guide him/her in a plan that is best for them, and your own needs should be irrelevant. One of the toughest things for any boss to do is tell a valued employee, “It’s time for me to let you go to pursue a better opportunity.”