What is Mentorship?
A professional relationship where an experienced individual (mentor) guides and supports a less experienced person (mentee) in their career or professional development.
Why is it important to have a Mentor?
There are many reasons I have had mentors in my career to help guide me on difficult projects, navigate a new landscape of stakeholders, and build up my own business acumen. When I was returning to work after being a stay-at-home mom, I was terrified of what I had missed by being out of the workforce for 10 years. And, I had a wonderful mentor from my previous role at Quaker Oats named Julia. She helped me quickly get up to speed with some special projects on a contractor basis, which led to a full-time role within a month. I learned so much from her on the importance of relationship building, stakeholder management, how to quickly pivot in the face of roadblocks, and what it felt like to have someone trust and believe in my abilities to lead.
- Provides personalized guidance based on real-world experiences.
- Helps in identifying and focusing on essential skills and knowledge areas.
- Increases access to professional networks and opportunities.
Peer mentors: “Albert Einstein and his relationships with Werner Heisenberg and Niels Bohr. They didn’t often debate or advance a specific view; they weren’t trying to one-up each other. Instead, they proposed ideas, asked questions, offered thoughts, and supported each other’s seemingly wild notions.”
Throughout my corporate career, I was also a mentor to others, which was actually key to my own growth and development, plus it kept me relevant on more topics! One in particular young man in his 20’s that I mentored reached further in his career in one summer than he had in a full year prior. He was able to move up to a manager role, transition from hourly to salaried with benefits, and more than triple his salary. It was a fascinating process to be a part of, and I loved celebrating all his wins along the way.
What else does being a mentor bring?
- Enhances leadership and communication skills.
- Provides a fresh perspective by interacting with younger or less experienced individuals.
- Facilitates reflection on one’s own career and practices.
- Contributes to the growth of the industry or field by fostering new talent.
Something that I truly appreciate is a good story from my mentor’s history. Yes, I love working with successful people, but I also love hearing how they overcame a stumbling block in their career or business. My current mentor, Corinne, recently shared her experience about transitioning from a corporate trainer into having her own business. She was just starting her personal training program and she also had a special needs child. Trying to find time to balance her family and her business was particularly difficult in that season. She had learned from Michael Hyatt a little trick that really helped her: have a daily ritual to start and end your work day. This was key when I started working from home more, and my work day seemed to never end. You can read more about Michael Hyatt’s technique HERE.
More reasons why sharing Experiences is key to being a great mentor
- Narratives and real-life experiences can provide better insights than theoretical knowledge.
- Helps in foreseeing potential challenges and preparing for them.
- Builds trust and understanding in the mentor-mentee relationship.
- Encourages a culture of continuous learning and openness.
In my career, I have had the pleasure of working with some amazing leaders, and learning from them was my greatest joy. One key lesson they taught me was how to pave the way for future leaders as they helped me learn, grow and navigate my own career. I learned how to look for a gap in the workplace, write my own job description, manage the stakeholders who had the need, and create my next best career move. I have also mentored countless people do the same and one of my mentees right now is looking to join a board to help teach kids about nutrition and how it impacts the planet. We have had a lot of fun researching this new path together.
A few more reasons it’s important to pave the way for future leaders:
- Mentorship creates a ripple effect: mentees often become mentors themselves.
- Facilitates the transfer of knowledge, ensuring that hard-won insights and practices aren’t lost over time.
- Strengthens the overall leadership pipeline in organizations and industries.
- Ensures that emerging leaders are well-equipped to handle future challenges and responsibilities.
It has been my great pleasure to meet so many brilliant people on my journey of work and life. I am blessed with great mentors in my life, my 3 favorites happen to be my best friends, Mary, Debra & Kate. I have learned so much about navigating difficult life seasons, and work situations, building friendships, and how to live a better-balanced life from them. I know they always have my back and I feel lucky to sometimes bring them a few good tips, too:)
Why is mentorship so important for all of us?
- Mentorship is a symbiotic relationship that actually benefits both mentor and mentee.
- It plays a crucial role in individual career growth and the collective progression of a field or industry.
- Fostering mentorship relationships is an investment in the future of leadership
- It can build lifelong friendships, long after the work situation!