Whether you are starting out on your career path or contemplating retirement, or at any of the stages in between, you will come across career challenges. You may feel at a loss, but the chances are that there is someone out there who has been through similar challenges and can provide you with sound guidance and inspiration on how to move forward.
Reach Your True Potential
An article in the Harvard Business Review once reported that mentored executives earned
more money at a younger age, were better educated, more likely to follow initial career goals, and had higher career satisfaction. This isn’t all that surprising – experienced practitioners transferring wisdom is bound to have a positive effect.
Mentors can provide guidance and insight into many career development areas including:
- How to enter industries and professions.
- How to progress within industries and professions.
- Specific job challenges.
- Specific industry challenges.
- How to move job roles and industries.
What is a mentor?
A mentor is someone who will encourage and support you to make the most of your career and yourself. Although the final decisions are always in your hands, a mentor can be invaluable in guiding you to consider your options, get new information, identify the support you need and help you to make informed choices. A mentor can provide access to impartial, non-judgmental guidance and support. It is a relationship in which the mentor and mentee work together to achieve predetermined goals and objectives.
A mentor is there to:
- Guide you to look at a wide variety of options and consider alternative courses of action in order to solve problems for yourself, rather than to give answers or provide solutions.
- Help you gain new personal skills, experiences and knowledge.
- Help you to develop new attitudes and behaviour, and therefore improve both your personal and your business performance.
- Release and develop your own resourcefulness – it is up to you to decide whether to use the information you receive from your mentor.
The key skills for you as a mentee
- Questioning to clarify and make sure you have understood correctly.
- Questioning to explore additional options and consequences.
- Being prepared to act on what has been agreed with your mentor.
Establishing a successful relationship with your mentor
Once you have been matched with your mentor we suggest that you:
- Draw up a timetable of regularly spaced meetings in advance.
- Establish a set of ground rules to which you will both abide.
- Keep notes of your meetings and use these as the basis for ongoing discussion.
- Work towards developing a trusting relationship and establishing a good rapport with your mentor.
- Aim at maintaining the relationship for as long as is appropriate to your needs.
As you take part in mentoring as a menteee, you will need to:
- Own and take responsibility for discussion content – don’t expect the mentor to solve your problems or provide quick fixes. Remain aware that the purpose of mentoring is to work on your professional development.
- Be open to developing your self-awareness and to making changes.
- Be open to what the mentor has to say and to their advice; this doesn’t mean you have to agree with it. It does mean you should receive it, reflect upon it and decide later whether you agree and whether to act on it.
- Reflect between sessions on what has been discussed
- If you do agree an action then ensure you do it.
If you think you could benefit from a mentor, look at further information here.
You can also join the ABDO Peer to Peer mentoring process here.