Mentoring is a word that gets used to describe a whole range of relationships that help people develop in their career. But the goal of mentoring can be forgotten in the excitement of doing it.
It’s not about you, your hits and misses, or the highlights of your career.
And it’s not about you being a model of transparency.
It’s not about making yourself feel good.
And it is not about you looking good to others.
It is definitely not about ticking off a box on your performance review.
The Point of Mentoring
It’s about the betterment of another person. Period.
Being transparent, feeling good, or adding one more good thing to your performance review are bonus outcomes.
Why People Mentor
People mentor because they want to play it forward, to pass along knowledge or skills to another person so that person is better equipped. And in turn that person can pass along their skills and knowledge to another person.
Where to Find A Mentor
Over time I been fortunate to fine mentors along the way. Sometimes on the job, other times not but still in my field, and still other times from someone I don’t work with and is not in my field. My mentors have been women and women. And I have learned from each.
Some of my most powerful and lasting mentoring relationships have through groups. The one I am currently a part of grew out of a shared desire among a group of thirteen professional women, from diverse backgrounds, who wanted be surrounded by other ambitious, curious, challenging, kind, supportive, authentic and honest women who share ideas and information and advance our careers. We all live in an area where that can be hard to find.
My friend Kate inspired by Lean In came to me with the idea to get just such a group going. The timing was perfect, my previous group had been put on hiatus per mutual agreement. Kate and I put date on the calendar for a kick off meeting and then started reaching out to women we knew who might be interested in the same thing. Lean In Mississippi was born.
A year has passed and its be been amazing. Four of the thirteen of us have gotten new, bigger jobs. All of us have found inspiration and energy through our relationships. And we’re all stepping up our game taking bolder and well calculated risks.
It Is Time for You To Be A Mentor
It is time for you be a mentor when there is an opportunity for you to support the betterment of someone else.
The ah-ha moment for my current group was when we all kept thinking of other women we knew who might like to be part of a similar group. Time to expand.
Two weeks ago we hosted a networking meeting to, as my friend Kate says, share “who we are, why we exist, what we do, and how we can help each other.” Sixty women showed up. Two hundred and sixty-seven joined our online forum. Clearly there’s opportunity to support the betterment of someone else.
We’ve got a large group meeting schedule set and we’re asking those 267 women to step it up and share their knowledge during a large group. They are start their own smaller groups and we’re offering to mentors those people if they want.
We’re continuing our own small group too- we know the value of being mentored.
What To Ask Yourself As A Mentor
As we move forward we’re reflecting why we mentor. How about you, why do you mentor? Are your reasons like the one’s below?
- Someone helped level the playing field for me and I want to do the same.
- There is essential knowledge that’s gained through experience, I want to help someone else get it.
- Another person has talents I want to see develop, not only focus on my own talents.
- Serving others means more to me now than taking all the credit for myself.
Get clearabout why you mentor and go be one.