Probably many of you are right now in this moment of the career that the questions ’What’s next?’ appears. It is nothing wrong in asking it. It means that you have the feeling that you are doing everything well and you need a factor that or can boost your career or will open new doors for you. Looking for new opportunities to grow is something natural. At some moment for development, you will use only books and courses. But it comes the time that nothing can replace human interaction. This is how you come to an idea ”I need a mentor”.
Mentoring – what it is?
It is a chance. For further development, for growing inside the company or understanding that there is a need to leave own comfort zone. Mentee-mentor relationship brings an opportunity for honest talks and sharing the experience. A mentor can bring new values to a mentee’s life, to form and name some skills. To understand this relation clearly, it is worth to mention that a mentee cannot become a copy of the mentor. Mentor will share the real examples from own life, but will not favor a mentee.
Can I be a mentor?
Yes, of course. Actually, you are already a mentor to your new employees. You start with an onboarding and then continue with feedback sessions or regular evaluations. It is important that you have to be sure that you can help your mentee. It is worth to have already a huge experience, good career behind you and still many opportunities that are waiting.
How to be a good mentee?
You can in advance prepare your manager or supervisor for the information that you are looking for a mentor. On regular basis try to provide a feedback on which areas you would like to work. Ask, where your supervisor sees a room for improvement for you. Be active in your present environment – work hard, be involved, encourage other to change, be creative, be authentic. If the company has the open door policy – use it. I am sure there are many people who can answer some of your questions.
When you finally find a mentor, set up goals with him. Effective ones. Tell your mentor what expectations do you have. Agree with him how you both are going to measure if you are moving forward. Have you already thought about what a mentor should bring into this relationship. How much time would you like to dedicate for mentoring sessions? Please keep in mind that you still have to do your job.
First step done – what’s next?
Both parts, a mentor, and a mentee have to be involved in this relationship. Work with a plan, have sessions for a talk and tasks without meetings. During mentoring sessions mentor will define which competences mentee already has and which should expand in order to achieve own goals. What is worth to underline that nothing can replace the mentor’s knowledge. Repeating actions with new skills brings a mentee to the moment that what used to be unknown and new today is met daily.
Mentor-mentee relationship ends!
As everything in the life what is good has to come to an end. With the mentor-mentee relationship is the same. If you as a mentee have achieved your goals. If you have worked hard on new skills and you have achieved new abilities. When mentor admits that he sees you don’t need any support in specified areas — mentoring has to come to an end. This is a very good signal, nothing wrong is with you. For a mentee, it is a signal that the mentor gives a space for next independent actions. Mentees business skills should be already at much higher level than in the beginning. The mentor is sure that the mentee can handle the career/ position by himself.
XXI century mentoring
I have to admit that recently I have read that in the XXI century mentor-mentee relationship is a relict. Few arguments were given for that. Having only one mentor at the time is slightly closing the spectrum of possibilities. Nowadays we can look for many sources of career guidance. I am sure we can find mentors around. This how we can involve anyone from our company or the society. Even unconsciously. Find members to your Personal Board of Directors and be inspired by them on every step you take. From this point, I would recommend the article ”Not sure about having a mentor? These alternatives might suit you better”, written by Grace McDonald.
As you see you might have a formal relationship mentor-mentee with many profits from it. You might also choose a few people who will mentor you in the direction you want. Before you start your mentoring sessions really think what do you want and where would you like to be after all. We might learn from everyone, but the thing is to choose good and inspirational people.
I hope with this article I have brought up the idea for a new way of development. Don’t be afraid to ask your supervisor how the mentoring program look like in your company… and go for it.