Mentoring: Who can help you reach the top?

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You may have read our recent blog post about how to stay motivated once you’ve landed a new role. This post highlighted the importance of identifying your internal network and who you will need to get the job done.

As you settle and progress within your role, it is good to think about your aims and where you see yourself going.

It’s equally important to think about who can help you get there.

Mentoring is a term we tend to hear more and more in the workplace, and with good reason; the benefits are extensive and both parties can reap the rewards.

For mentors, the recognition as an expert in their field can help them to discover leadership qualities and give them a fresh perspective on ideas and approach. Not only is it a great professional development tool, it allows senior staff the time to reflect on their own goals and practises.

For mentees, the advice can help them to develop strengths and overcome weaknesses, building invaluable professional confidence. It’s also a great way of building visibility and gaining recognition within a company.

Choosing a mentor.

A mentor can be a sounding board at critical points in your career. For this reason, it is important to choose someone who is as committed to the process as you. You don’t always have to meet someone face-to-face at regular intervals, it can be as simple as emailing one main question or having a 30 minute phone call every other month.

It’s always good to think about the qualities you would like to see in a mentor; are they authentic, empathetic, creative and honest? Will they instinctively know when to provide you with constructive criticism and when to provide a pat on the back?

Getting the most from mentoring.

Having the knowledge and experience of a successful person in your field at your disposal is a great way to develop your skills, but you should also think about what you bring to the table.

Being prepared for mentoring sessions is the only way to get the most out of them. For example, if you are struggling with a business problem but have limited time to discuss the approach with your mentor, break the problem down. Outline what you do know and ask them where they have faced similar challenges and what they did.

In addition, it’s good to let your mentor know where you are making progress. This is a learning experience for them too and seeing where things are going right can shape the advice they give you in future, this feedback loop helps both parties.

There are lots of useful resources to help you access mentoring services but your local Chamber of Commerce can help, as well as organisations such as Business Gateway.

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