Why mentoring can make all the difference
When I was starting out on my leadership journey the offer of a mentor wasn’t forthcoming. Even if it had of been I would have shied away from the idea. Talking to someone I didn’t really know, about work? No, thanks! Talking to one of my colleagues about what I was struggling with? No chance!
It’s only later on, looking back, that I realised I had found my own mentors early on. As my career developed my mentors changed to suit my needs. Then, later on in my career, mentoring became a more recognised tactic for supporting managers and leaders.
Mentoring is best described as a learning and development partnership between someone with experience and knowldge, and someone who wants to learn.
One person shares their knowledge, skills and experience to assist others to progress in their own lives and careers, within agreed boundaries.
As soon as I was in a position to do so, I decided to take a mentoring approach with all my team members. I made it my mission to share my learning and experience with others – if they wanted it. I was never going to be the sort of leader who held on to the knowledge because of that old nonsense that ‘knowledge is power’.
In my experience, knowledge did not equal power, it simply meant that no one else could do my job if I wasn’t around! I quickly learnt as a team leader that sharing knowledge and experience as much as possible built resilence and improved practice.
There are benefits for the mentor AND the mentee, which far outweigh the resources spent on the relationship. The added value you gain from a mentoring relationship is significant.
For the mentor there is the very tangible satisfaction of passing on your skills, learning and experience.
But, also it enhances one’s own performance by giving you time to reflect on your own practice. It helps you to develop professional relationships, and enhances peer recognition.
As a mentee, you gain impartial advice and encouragement. Your very own NON-critical friend, who will help you with problem solving, in a non-judgy way. You will have the opportunity to reflect on how you handled situations. And, what you can learn from the good, the bad and the ugly. (Don’t kid yourself that you won’t encounter all as some point!)
You have your own personal cheerleader. Someone who is on your side and will support you. Your mentor is not there to tell you what to do, but to help you work out the best way for you to do something.
You will gain self-confidence and improve your belief in yourself.
You will learn from someone who has been through the same or similar issues. It’s very rare that your problems will be new. They are just new to you.
Personal professional development is a fantastic investment in YOU and prospective future employers will recognise this.
Now, if you work in a big organisation, chances are you already have a mentoring programme in place. Which is great because all you need to do is tap into that amazing resource.
But, this won’t be the case in all organisations. Or, you might run your own small business. You may simply prefer not to bare your concerns and areas for development with someone in the same organisations as you.
There are of course some potential pitfalls.
You may not hit it off with your mentor. The relationship is important and cannot forced.
If you have an internal mentoring progamme the mentor may feel that they don’t have time to fulfill the role whilst carrying out normal duties. This may be apparent in your meetings with them.
Another possible pitfall is that the mentor may feel that the mentee is not progressing quickly enough. Or, doesn’t seem able or willing to change their approach to a problem. This can lead to frustration and again will come across in your interactions.
You may also become frustrated if you feel that you are not getting the guidance you need.
Communication is vital – if its not working then honesty is the best policy. There need not be any judgement in a decision to discontinue and find another mentor/mentee arrangement.
You may be a senior manager yourself and may be unwilling to enter into a mentoring relationship for yourself. In this case, do not use out reverse mentoring.
Whilst you may not need mentoring on your leadership skills, the ever changing and fast paced world we live in can mean we quickly become disconnected from new technology, new approaches and emerging issues on the ground.
Reverse mentoring takes theconcept of mentoring and turning it on its head.
Reverse mentoring acknowledges that the more senior person is the one who is looking for a fresh outlook. It can be a powerful mechanism for organisational culture change if the bosses are being mentored by mentors much younger and who have a very different experience of today’s world.
I know that a lot of people cannot access mentoring through work. Some cannot afford it, or are put off by the huge costs that some people charge. If you are in a leadership role having a
For that reason I am offering a 1 hour taster mentoring session for the reduced price of just £79.
In one hour we will have time to unpick at least one issue that you are struggling with. You can get a feel for whether mentoring could be the life changer I believe it to be.
I have 30 plus years experience in leadership roles. I have encountered all the monsters you might be facing. In just one hour I can help you on your journey to be the best leader you can be.
Don’t just take my word for it. These are the words of a new leader that I had the pleasure of mentoring last year.
“I have being having mentoring from Mandy … and haven’t looked back. I get a huge amount from my meetings with her and she is teaching me so much which I am utilising on a daily basis. She has given me great confidence and challenged me to push myself and believe in myself. She is really thoughtful and realistic about what is achievable and is a calming influence which has let me focus on the positives. I have left all meetings with a clearer view of what I should be doing to better manage my career and work towards meeting my long term goals. Mandy is very talented and her experience and guidance so useful.”
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