517 Magazine Days of Giveaways

Be the Example to Follow

If you’re like me, when you recount your path or career milestones there are many individuals you can clearly attribute support that led to success. They may not have been label…

If you’re like me, when you recount your path or career milestones there are many individuals you can clearly attribute support that led to success. They may not have been labeled as a mentor, but he or she may have filled that role. While a mentor can provide invaluable advice, most importantly they are giving guidance on how to evaluate decisions and circumstances for yourself. 

It’s difficult to find time for a mentoring relationship in today’s frantic business environment. Whether you’re the mentor or you’re seeking a mentor, the issues remain the same: It’s difficult to identify a potential relationship, it may be hard to make the request and it’s nearly impossible to find enough time to dedicate to the endeavor. 

If you’re seeking a mentor, here are a few tips for finding the right fit and how to make it worth your time and effort.

  1. Understand what your needs are prior to reaching out to a potential mentor. It’s important toknow what you’re trying to gain and how that person can help you achieve your goals.
  2. Make it easy for your mentor to meet with you. Try and work your schedule to coordinate with his or hers.
  3. Make an agenda of items to discuss and if your mentor gave you some assignments in the last meeting – be prepared.

When considering becoming a mentor, it’s easy to think that the mentees get all the value. However,  it is a two-way experience. I believe that everyone has a story, and within it are things that we can learn from. Here are tips for mentors to make the most of their time with a mentee. 

  1. While you’re in the meeting, try to be present. It’s easy to be distracted by the world and work going on around you. It’s essentially the first lesson you’re providing the person sitting across from you.
  2. Ask the mentee’s opinion on the topic, subject or decision. Getting a new or differing perspective is educational and rewarding.
  3. Ask the person how you’re doing. Is it a benefit to both parties? And when have you provided the maximum impact and he or she is ready to move on? In my experience, the meetings can become a habit and linger on past their benefit timeframe. (If you’ve become friends, carry on!)

When someone asks for your time and attention in mentoring, take it seriously. This is part of someone’s growth strategy. It’s OK to not have time in your life for this commitment and it’s always OK to say “no.” But help redirect the person to someone who may have more time or be a better fit for the person’s needs. We’ve all needed a little guidance at some point, and now might be the time to pay it forward. 

Be dynamic in all you do.

 

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