Wondering about the benefits of mentoring a young co-worker or approaching a more seasoned professional for career guidance? Well, wonder no more! According to a survey conducted by LinkedIn, 82% of women agree that having a mentor is important. The survey also showed that 66% of women connect with mentors in person. And in a recent UPS study, 88% of business owners with a mentor say that having one is invaluable.
Clearly, mentoring matters when it comes to professional growth! To get the most from your mentoring experience, here are some things to consider:
Know Your Needs
Before you begin your search for a mentor or mentee, give some thought to your professional needs and plans, now and in the future. Do you want to collaborate with someone in the same industry or are you willing to look outside your field? How much time and effort are you willing to invest in the relationship? Once you are clear on what is important, you will have a better idea of what–and who–to look for.
Make Good Choices!
Do a little homework before choosing the individual you want to ask for help or the person to whom you’re offering advice. Look for someone who has similar goals; check out their references. Do you see yourself comfortably working with this person? If possible, talk to a potential mentor’s former protégé. In short, try to learn as much as you can before making a commitment.
The More the Merrier
Having more than one mentor could be a good thing, in fact, sometimes it’s best to work with a few different professional women so you can tap into their particular expertise and skill sets. For example, you may need advice on marketing, social media and finances, so don’t hesitate to seek guidance from three different mentors who are leaders in those particular fields. Each will bring her unique knowledge to the mentoring table.
Broaden Your Horizon
Why limit yourself to only those women in your workplace? In an article posted on Forbes.com that discussed the value of women’s mentoring programs, author Ruchika Tulshyan pointed out that joining a professional women’s organization (such as NAPW) is often a better source for mentors than the workplace. “Mentoring becomes easier among women at different levels, across industries, rather than the one-sided perspective you may get within one company,” she wrote.
Being a mentor may take time and effort, but you will reap rewards such as strengthening your leadership skills, raising your self-esteem and realizing a sense of accomplishment that you are helping a younger, less experienced woman. As a mentee, you will receive plenty of valuable advice and information to help you advance your career. Plus, you can pay it forward down the road once you are established in your career by becoming a mentor yourself!
We want to hear about your experience as a mentor/mentee. Please tell us about your mentoring relationship in the comment section below!