Mentoring to Reach Your Goals

If you have been fortunate to acquire a mentor within your organization, you understand the immense value that partner can bring to your professional development.

A good mentor will challenge you to see things differently, suggest books and articles centered on specific areas for growth, help you navigate the company’s matrix, and may even give you a project to showcase your talents.

The benefits are endless and, no matter your professional level, everyone can benefit from a mentoring relationship.

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I was fortunate enough to create a mentoring program for a company looking to link top talent with established senior leaders. The goal was to foster professional growth, retain high-functioning employees, create a culture of sharing, and strengthen the internal company network.

I made several discoveries that I am happy to share with you…

Top benefits to having a mentoring relationship:

  • Assistance in achieving goals
  • Broadening perspective
  • Opportunity to learn from someone you may not interact with on a regular basis
  • Navigate the company matrix
  • Identify areas of opportunity and suggestions for growth
  • Increase motivation
  • Strengthen skillset

After carefully observing many mentor-mentee partnerships, I saw many relationships excel and some… not. My baseline for success centered on feedback from both mentor and mentee as well as how often the two communicated. All other measures were too subjective. I kept note of those who paired well together and created a list of commonly mentioned best practices…

Tips for a mentee:

  • Be proactive. Do not wait until your manager or supervisor suggests a mentor to you.
  • Ensure your mentor is aligned with your career path and goals. This doesn’t mean they need to have the exact position you are aspiring to but they should have knowledge to help guide your professional path.
  • You drive the communication. A good approach is to have a standing meeting or teleconference scheduled each month. This can be adjusted as necessary.
  • Make sure there is a good personality fit. Your mentor should be someone you feel comfortable with sharing ideas, goals, and challenges.
  • Send your mentor a list of topics, or areas of development, you’d like to focus on. This will allow both you and your mentor to prepare for meetings to maximize your time together.
  • Takes notes during meetings with your mentor. Some companies will offer an online platform to support your mentoring experience. If not, keep a notebook to record key ideas, thoughts, and insights.

Tips for a mentor:

  • Be accessible. Make sure it’s not challenging for your mentee to communicate with you.
  • Be honest. The only way for your mentee to develop is to be honest and clear about their areas of development.
  • Be approachable. Establish a comfortable relationship from the start to stimulate open dialogue and create trust.
  • Know the difference between a mentor and a coach. A mentor advises and guides a mentee based on their professional experience and unique skills. This relationship can last an indefinite amount of time. A couch is typically someone who is trained to address a specific area of need and the relationship will usually be short term.

As someone who has repeatedly and consistently seen the benefits and results of the mentor-mentee relationship, I urge you to take advantage of this opportunity. Good luck!

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