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How to be a better mentor

Increase retention, improve productivity, engage employees, and cultivate leadership

Topic: Career Development
Susan Schoenfeld

Changing workforce demographics, increased diversity, and shifts in work-life balance demands have altered employee needs, expectations, and workplace relationships. Research shows that mentoring matters, but not every organization has a successful mentoring program, and most mentors don’t actually know how to mentor.

Join expert Susan Schoenfeld to learn how to develop your mentoring skills so that mentoring is a positive experience for both you and the person you mentor. You'll discover how to create an environment where mentoring can flourish and review best practices from a range of organizations that you can implement immediately.

What you'll learn-and how you can apply it

By the end of this live online course, you’ll understand:

  • The value of mentoring and its role in a modern work environment
  • The roles and responsibilities of both a mentor and mentee
  • When and why a mentoring relationship works
  • What reverse mentoring encompasses
  • The skills a mentor needs

And you’ll be able to:

  • Create a positive mentoring relationship with your mentee, resulting in increased opportunities to learn from each other
  • Participate successfully in a reverse mentoring program, which involves reciprocal learning in areas where you are deficient
  • Provide feedback, set goals, coach, engage in active listening, and demonstrate how to establish relationships—key leadership skills in the workplace

This training course is for you because...

  • You want to learn how to be a better mentor.
  • Your current mentoring program isn’t working, and you want to improve it.
  • You've never been a mentor, but you want to build a foundation for your mentoring skills.


  • You should currently be a mentor, or someone who would like to be a mentor at work or in a volunteer organization.

Recommended follow-up:

About your instructor

  • Susan Schoenfeld works with the Leaders Institute providing team-building programs for corporations. Susan has over 20 years of corporate experience. Previously, she was a professional development and performance management consultant at Baker & McKenzie, spent more than 11 years as professional development director at Foley & Lardner LLP, and was the training manager at Extendicare Health Services. Susan has taught courses at several universities, including Marquette University and UWM, and has provided customized coaching, seminars, strategic planning, and motivational speaking services to individuals, businesses, and community groups statewide. She has also taught several workshops to law firms and legal associations and has coached executives on management skills and presentation techniques. Some of her clients include Hyatt Corporation, Time Warner, and the National Association of Realtors. Susan is a certified DISC instructor and has authored articles for several professional journals.


The timeframes are only estimates and may vary according to how the class is progressing

The purpose of mentoring and how it's different from coaching (20 minutes)

  • Lecture: What is mentoring?
  • Group discussion: How do you balance the four functions of mentoring? Did you ever have a memorable mentor? What was your experience as a mentee?
  • Hands-on exercises: Compare coaching and mentoring; evaluate yourself as a mentor
  • Q&A

Different types of mentoring programs; reverse mentoring (20 minutes)

  • Lecture: Mentoring programs; reverse mentoring; How old is old?
  • Hands-on exercise: Describe the differences between yourself and the different generations you work with
  • Group discussion: What are the differences between the generations?
  • Q&A

Expectations, phases, challenges, and skills for mentors and mentees (25 minutes)

  • Lecture: Relationship challenges and mentoring skills
  • Group discussion: Expectations for a mentee
  • Hands-on exercise: Set SMART goals
  • Q&A
  • Break (5 minutes)

Listening, feedback, and understanding yourself (25 minutes)

  • Lecture: How to improve your listening skills; different types of responses
  • Hands-on exercises: Explore different responses; determine if you're a good listener; provide feedback; explore behavioral styles
  • Group discussion: Strengths and weaknesses
  • Q&A

Creating an environment of trust and eliminating conflict (20 minutes)

  • Lecture: Creating an environment of trust; handling difficult mentoring situations; mentoring case studies
  • Q&A