What it means to be part of a mentoring relationship
Ever notice how the healthiest, most sustainable business relationships sprout from connecting with each other on a human level. Sometimes those networking seeds are sewn by connecting peer to peer, other times it’s about an outstretched, guiding hand.
If you’ve never been part of a formal mentoring relationship, it’s time to invest time and energy into the one relationship that might just take your business and career to the next level.
Are you – or could you be – a mentor?
Mentors understand that many essential business skills aren’t taught in school. And the school of life can be a painful place to do your continued education learning. Mentors give a lot of themselves to help others but they understand – and live by – the “give to get” philosophy. By offering a helping hand to a peer or newcomer, they often learn something new about themselves or their skill sets.
A mentor can do many things, from steering you to the right skill-building seminars to connecting you to people you need to know in your industry. They can also help in unique situations to:
· Clarify confusing situations and map out alternative routes to success.
· Extract the emotional from the logical and help you sculpt a smart, career-boosting response.
· Bolster confidence in your skills and demonstrate how to better use them.
· Ask thought provoking questions and assess the practical side to your situation
· Provide tips and tools to set yourself up for success
Not everyone who is helpful is a mentor and not every mentor is helpful. That’s why the WIBN is working hard this year to build a strong mentoring network that you can plug into when you need it.
Are you – or could you be – a mentor? Not sure if you qualify as a mentor?
· Worked in your current field for 5 years or more (not necessarily the same company)?
· Enjoyed a promotion at least once in those 3 years? (demonstrated capability with measurable results)
· Overcome obstacles that changed how you do your job?
· Benefited from a mentoring relationship?
· Want to give to others to guide, nurture and enable success?
· Operated your business for 3 years or more?
· Struggled with obstacles and used innovative ways to charge past them?
· Wanted to share your experiences with other entrepreneurs?
· Willing to invest time and energy into other’s careers
If the above questions resonate with you, you’ve likely been mentored – formally or informally. Sometimes mentoring can be informal with advice given in the hall, over the phone, on social media. Think hard. Bet you’ll be able to come up with at least a couple of names of mentors.
Are you – or could you be – a mentee?
The short answer is that we all need mentors – no matter where we are in our career. Recognizing that intrinsic need for mentoring is what separates someone who is moving forward in her career to someone who has stagnated.
For forward-thinkers, the desire to continue to learn defines success. Finding new ways to cope with challenges and difficult people helps us navigate tricky career paths. And just so we’re clear, everyone’s career path is tricky – even Steve Jobs was once fired from Apple.
The beautiful thing about being on the mentee side of the relationship is that you get one on one time with someone who’s been there and done that and WANTS to help you. The only cost to you is your time. The benefits are obvious.