After learning about your colleague's situation you'll need to assess how you best can help guide this person. Think about specific instances in your life in which you experienced a similar dilemma. How did you solve that particular problem and move forward? Share a personal story, and speak candidly about it.
Sharing these stories with a colleague will break down any barriers and instantly allow you to form a bond that will provide the basis for your role as an effective mentor.
You should continue to meet and talk with this person, offering your guidance and support while getting a better understanding of the problems he or she is facing. Communication and trust are the most important elements in being an effective mentor.
Don't think of mentoring someone as a lifetime sentence where you'll be forever saddled with someone's troubles. Sometimes you'll want to maintain a long-term professional friendship, but often the person you're helping will catch on quickly and move on, which is fine if that's your intention.
So go ahead, e-mail a colleague to offer your ear or get up from your computer to chat with them in person. You're likely to find an appreciative response at the other end. And you'll be well on your way to enjoying the rich and rewarding benefit of knowing that you did a very good deed for someone in need.
Similarly, if in the past several months someone was there for you -- to listen, to advise, to assist -- take a moment right now to wish them a pleasant holiday. Send off an e-mail letting them know that you have not forgotten their help and you'll be forever grateful and appreciative. Offer to reciprocate if the need should present itself. You'll no doubt make someone's day with your genuine thoughtfulness.
That is what this week is all about.
To contact Tory Johnson or for more career advice, visit www.womenforhire.com.