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Why and How to Keep Students Accountable
Thursday, February 9th, 2023
Have you ever been in a situation where a mentee went off the rails, leaving you wondering what you could have done differently to keep them in check? All mentors have this fear when they start their mentoring journey—and it often becomes a real challenge.
Accountability—that’s what is usually missing from these relationships.
Without it, it becomes challenging for both parties to fulfill their respective roles and responsibilities and achieve the desired outcome.
For those unfamiliar with the term, accountability is the obligation of a person to take ownership of their actions and results and report on their progress in achieving set objectives. It has become increasingly important in the virtual world 1.
In mentoring relationships, the mentor is accountable to the mentee and vice versa. Accountability strengthens the connection by creating a sense of shared responsibility and mutual trust.
It’s true that accountability can be tricky for new mentors, as it’s not always easy to get it right. But having a few strategies in place can help you stay on top of things and keep your mentees accountable in a positive and encouraging way.
We’ll reveal the best ways to hold your mentees accountable, but first, let’s discuss why it’s so important.
Why Does Accountability Matter So Much in Mentoring?
The simple answer is that accountability is essential for mentoring success. Without it, mentees may become overwhelmed and lack the focus necessary to reach their goals.
Accountability also helps create trust in the mentor-mentee relationship. When mentees know they are being held to a standard of excellence, they are more likely to work hard and strive for success.
So, as a mentor, you must know how to keep mentees accountable in order to ensure they are making progress and achieving their goals. Here are a few benefits of doing so:
- It Inspires Commitment: By holding your mentees accountable, you’ll motivate them to stay committed to their goals and ensure their progress. Without accountability, it’s easy for the mentee to get stuck in a rut and not move forward. It can be difficult to hold oneself accountable, but with a mentor to ensure progress, the mentee can stay motivated and be more likely to reach their goals.
- It Promotes Productivity: Accountability helps mentees stay focused and on track and be productive as required. This, in turn, ensures they are learning and growing in the right direction.
- It Develops Trust: Accountability encourages both parties to openly communicate their needs and expectations, strengthening their bond. Without it, the mentee may feel their concerns and questions are not heard. This can lead to a lack of progress and trust between the mentor and mentee.
- It Creates a Sense of Responsibility: By holding mentees accountable, you’ll help create a sense of responsibility, ownership, and pride in their success. As you work with them to achieve their goals, they will become more invested in the process, and you will be able to foster a more meaningful relationship between them.
- It Encourages Feedback: When mentees are held accountable, it will encourage them to provide feedback to their mentor and improve the mentor-mentee relationship. This can lead to better results in the long run, as the mentor can provide guidance and feedback to help the mentee reach their goals.
As a mentor, a huge part of your success depends on your ability to keep your mentees accountable. Like any good mentor, you must make your students understand the importance of accountability and give them the tools they need to take active control of their progress.
How to Keep Mentees Accountable: Top 6 Tips Experts Swear By
Here are a few surefire tips for keeping your mentees accountable so that everyone is on the same page and working toward a common goal.
- Establish Clear Expectations Setting clear expectations from the start of the mentoring relationship is critical. Be as elaborative as possible when explaining the specific goals you and your mentee are working towards and how you expect them to conduct themselves throughout the mentorship process.Also, let your mentees know what you expect from them regarding communication, progress reports, and other commitments.Setting these expectations during the initial sessions will help ensure that everyone is on the same page.Even later in the process, when you assign a project, set clear requirements, objectives, and expectations before giving your mentees the go-ahead to embark on the task. This will give them a clear roadmap to follow, allow them to measure progress, and hold them accountable for meeting their goals.
- Create a Timeline/Deadline A timeline for the mentoring relationship will serve as an object of reference for your mentees to stay on track and ensure that progress is being made.You must engage your students in the process, discuss their goals, and encourage them to share their input so that the resulting timeline is challenging yet realistic.Don’t forget to set a deadline for each project/goal. Deadlines help motivate mentees to stay focused and get things done. Again, they should be attainable for everyone.
- Communicate the Consequences of Missing Deadlines It’s also important to set consequences for when expectations are not met. Make sure you explain what will happen if your mentee doesn’t meet the deadlines you’ve set or fails to follow the agreed-upon requirements or expectations.Holding your mentees responsible for any mistakes or missed deadlines is essential for cultivating a culture of accountability. It pushes them to take responsibility for their actions (or lack thereof) by conveying that they will be answerable to you.
- Have Regular Check-Ins As your mentorship progresses, it’s important to have regular check-ins with your mentees. This simple practice helps both parties keep tabs on the progress and ensures that any issues or concerns can be addressed in a timely manner.Besides using regular follow-ups as an accountability tool, you should take out the time to discuss your mentees’ progress in detail and provide feedback on what they’re doing well and what areas need improvement so they can perform better.The best mentors always go the extra mile to help students take their performance from good to great. They see check-ins as a means to encourage and support the mentees instead of just evaluating their speed and how far they’ve come.Remember, positive and constructive feedback is essential to motivate mentees to keep going and build the confidence to push their boundaries. It should be focused on promoting learning, not justifying a grade.
- Provide the Necessary Resources and Support Accountability is a two-way street, and providing the necessary resources and support to mentees is your side of the bargain. This may include providing feedback, advice, guidance, and resources to help them reach their goals. Whether it’s a book, website, or online course material, make sure your mentees have the tools they need to succeed.Without these resources, your mentees may lack direction and struggle to progress. Ultimately, holding themselves accountable and meeting your expectations will be a challenge for them.Throughout the mentoring journey, take every chance to support your mentees and their goals. Listen to them and offer advice and assistance when needed. At the end of the day, they should feel heard, supported, and valued.
- Praise Their Effort Recognizing and celebrating your mentees’ achievements is a great way to keep them motivated and on track. Let them know when they’ve done a good job and that you appreciate their hard work. You can reward them for their effort in front of other mentees or offer extra marks to boost their confidence.Remember, encouragement and recognition for outstanding work can sometimes be even more powerful than consequences for bad behavior.
- Lead by Example All great mentors lead by example. If you want your mentees to stay accountable, you have to be accountable too. When you model the behavior you expect from them, they’ll be more likely to follow your lead and understand the importance of accountability.Having a mentor that fosters a culture of accountability is the key to success for all mentees. With the right strategies and approach, you can be that mentor for your students.
Keep Your Mentees Accountable at Every Step to Make Your Mentoring Journey Truly Rewarding!
Accountability is an essential part of successful mentoring relationships. It helps create trust, encourages open communication, ensures progress, and ultimately leads to better results. Without it, a mentorship can quickly become unfulfilling and one-sided.
By establishing clear expectations right from the beginning, setting deadlines, providing appropriate guidance, following up regularly, and celebrating successes, you can help your mentees perform at their highest potential and achieve the desired outcomes with confidence.
At Mentor DB, we support mentors who understand the importance of accountability and go the extra mile to build meaningful relationships with mentees. Join our team of successful mentors today to supercharge your growth and success.