When one considers mentoring, forum groups, or a business coach – the image of a seasoned corporate sage conversing with a young recruit comes to mind. Although there is a grain of truth in this statement, real mentoring is simply when someone helps another learn something that she would not learn if left alone. Mentors are trusted advisors who draw from their own personal experience to offer guidance. They usually will take a long, industry-wide view to help the individual navigate the business terrain.
Mentoring can occur naturally, informally or formally.
It can be a formal part of a program within a professional organization or an informal relationship.
It can last a day, several weeks, just long enough to help an individual over a “hump,” or it can last several years. We usually encourage our clients to seek out several mentors over the course of their career.
Corporate sponsored mentoring is sometimes used to achieve strategic business goals, such as retaining new employees and/or for leadership succession planning.
A mentor could be a highly visible and experienced company executive advising a rising star. Although a senior manager may be helpful to your career, working with someone from outside your organization, who is not invested in organizational politics, can ensure that conversations, concerns, and issues are kept in strict confidence. An experienced executive/business coach will also offer an objective view from the outside looking in.
All career-minded individuals can benefit from a mentor.
To start, consider approaching at least two individuals you admire for their achievements. Consider joining forum groups that consist of your peers, with experiences that you can learn from. Everyone appreciates the chance to share their experience and knowledge. In forum groups, you should gain valuable insight from multiple people.
Be prepared for your conversations. Arrive ready to discuss issues that are most important to you—don’t waste your time with chitchat. Meeting at least six times a year for approximately an hour or so would be appropriate.
You might also ask if impromptu phone calls would be welcomed by a mentor or forum group member. In this way, you can discuss important issues as they arise. It will be important that you, in some way, make the relationship reciprocal to your peers.
Source:Source: When Doing It All Won’t Do: A self-coaching guide for career women. (ebook edition $0.99, Workbook Edition in paperback $13.41)