Mentoring - The Missing Link to Rockstar Status (part 1)
Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, Maya Angelou and Oprah Winfrey, and Elton John and Lady Gaga established mentoring relationships that they credit to reaching success of epic portions. While we all can’t be “Rockstars,” we are continually striving to reach our greatest potential. Establishing a mentoring relationship is often the missing link.
Those who serve as a mentor enjoy a special opportunity helping a junior, inexperienced, and even a veteran professional. Sharing knowledge about a profession and career journey provides valuable insight, motivation, and support. Mentees take in all the mentor has to offer in helping guide them along in their career, whether it's in business continuity, disaster recovery, risk management, or organizational resilience. Both mentors and mentees benefit from the relationship through an exchange of professional growth.
Role of the Mentor
Great mentors are enthusiastic, enjoying the role they play in helping others achieve their goals. Usually, they have exceptional soft skills, such as listening, supportiveness, encouragement, and collaboration. They take a deep interest in another individual’s career and well-being by cultivating an interpersonal and professional relationship with whom they mentor.
A mentor serves as a role model, often acting as a sounding board, the voice of reason, emotional supporter, and trusted advisor who commits to a mentee’s personal and professional growth. These individuals recognize their vital role in preparing the future generation of “Rockstar” leaders. While mentors often help with work-specific challenges, a mentor is also there as a source of support to identify resources and offer encouragement to the mentee. They build confidence through advice, sharing of ideas, and feedback. Mentors also serve as an advocate to help with visibility and networking.
Becoming a Mentee
Becoming a mentee at any career stage is a great way to gain insight and knowledge from an accomplished individual. A mentee is someone who seeks to absorb the mentor’s knowledge while having the desire to know what to do with it. Great mentees recognize that it is a privilege to have a mentor and that the individual is volunteering their time to support them.
When selecting a mentor, it is important to be thoughtful about age since it doesn’t always equate to experience and expertise. It is best to choose an individual whose personality and background align with the mentee’s professional interests and goals. Conversely, a mentee must be flexible, open-minded, and willing to move out of their comfort zone to further their personal and professional development.
Ultimately, a mentor-mentee relationship fuels growth as long as the mentee commits, is open-minded to feedback and new ideas, and takes an active role in driving the learning process. The mentee can use the experience to reach career goals and achieve “Rockstar” status. However, the mentee must always be respectful and appreciative of the mentor’s investment and time.
Mentoring is an essential ingredient to career success, but its foundation relies entirely on having a productive mentoring relationship. To ensure a good match, both the mentor and mentee can get a sense of each other's interests, background, and experience by looking at each other’s LinkedIn profiles, social media, and then by having an informal exploratory conversation conducted in-person or by telephone. During the interview, it helps to discuss why you're interested in the mentoring partnership, boundaries you wish followed, pet peeves, and communication styles. A solid foundation of trust, respect, commitment, and effective communication must occur between both the mentee and mentor to achieve a successful partnership. The opportunity aims to build a synergistic relationship through conversation and one that enables the mentee to set and achieve goals, make decisions, and solve problems.
More information about the BCI Mentoring Scheme can be found here.
Come back next week to read about how to achieve success with mentoring and the benefits to both mentors and mentees.