As I recently joined the Customer Success Network to help manage the Mentoring Program, I took some time to reflect on my own journey, the role my mentors have played, and the reasons why I believe in the power of mentoring. As I looked ten, fifteen years back, I realized mentorship had shaped me early on even though I hadn’t labelled these conversations as Mentorship. Rather, it showed as a family friend providing guidance and wisdom on the challenge I was facing, or a professor opening my horizons further. They all shared the same commitment; helping me go through life a little wiser, confident in the world, and my ability to use the tools I’d been given to make the right decisions.
“Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future” Mark Ambrose
Understanding today’s complex corporate landscapes and career pathways are essential to anyone’s career journey and progression. Being mentored by someone who has more experience opens great opportunities for professional socialisation and support, both critical in facilitating professional growth. Years later, while I mainly lean on mentors in my field, I am still regularly opening up to the same group of family friends. As they all share different perspectives and solutions, they bring clarity to my goals, strengths, and weaknesses, facilitating the path to achieve them.
“Getting the most out of life isn’t about how much you keep for yourself but how much you pour into others” David Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring
The benefits of mentoring are not limited to mentees, and mentors find great purpose in serving and helping others. While discussing priorities, alternative solutions, and decision-making tools, mentors have shared their appreciation for these types of relationships as they often help them improve their empathetic and creative sides and enhance their problem-solving skills.
Where to start?
As a mentee or mentor, it is essential to be clear on the goals and vision of what you’re looking to accomplish with this engagement.
As a mentee, ask yourself:
- Who do I look up to and why?
- Can I think of a role model at work?
- Where do I see myself in the next five, ten, or fifteen years?
Answering some of these questions will help you identify what to look for in your future mentors.
As a mentor, ask yourself:
- What are my strengths and the specific areas of expertise I can offer a potential mentee?
- What time commitment can I consistently offer my mentee?
- What am I looking to get out of this engagement?
Once you’ve answered those for yourself and identified potential matches, get to know each other by planning a quick introduction chat, explore your shared interests, backgrounds, preferred ways of working and management style, the time you are each willing to invest in this relationship, etc. From then, both of you can decide to grow that connection to an ongoing relationship as you see fit.
As simple as 1,2,3… and remember, when a light is created both ends shine brighter.
Wishing you to have the wonderful 2021 we’ve all waited for!