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  • Mentoring New Professionals: Provide Supportive, Growth-Oriented Feedback

    September 14, 2016 | By NACE Staff

    Best Practices
    A manager works with a new hire to ensure she's on the right track.

    TAGS: best practices, nace insights, mentoring, career development

    Spotlight for Career Services Professionals

    Providing feedback to emerging professionals is essential, but can also be a challenging task for mentors. However, the mentee is likely to not only need the input, but to welcome it.

    Using the coaching technique of asking permission is wise, but the dynamics of the mentor/mentee relationship should influence how and when feedback is provided. A key is for the mentor to use a supportive, growth-oriented perspective on the feedback being delivered and work to make it a conversation rather than a lecture.

    Effective feedback is:

    • Specific—It is precise rather than general.
    • Factual—It details observations and information.
    • Descriptive—It focuses on what or how something is done, not why.
    • Clearly understood—It involves checking in and clarifying.
    • Timed to be most useful—It is closely tied to the action.
    • Sensitive—It is sincere in a desire to help.
    • Constructive—It focuses on controllable actions and outcomes.
    • Directed at behavior—It is not focused on assumed intent.

    It is important to remember that constructive feedback is not criticism. The goal is not to tear down, but rather to develop and support personal growth.

    When feedback is given, the mentee should decide if he or she prefers to discuss alternative actions at that time, or if he or she would prefer to take time to reflect on the feedback and consider alternatives at a later time.

    Excerpted from the “Mentoring Guide for Career Services Professionals” by Gary Alan Miller, Hofstra University.

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