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You Need a Mentor!

You Need a Mentor!

Mentoring is also an excellent way to improve communication and networking skills

Kerrie Halmi | AdminSecret

One obstacle that women create for themselves in Corporate America is not asking for what they need. At a conference I attended, a female CEO told the story of how when she became CEO, the men lined up outside her office to ask her to be their mentor. She said not one woman did; she had to go out and initiate the mentoring relationships with women (which most CEOs will not take the time to do!)

At one of my recent leadership development classes for women, one of the participants said she liked the assignment of getting a mentor. “Being encouraged (or forced)” was beneficial, she said. Well, consider yourself forced!

Increasingly, management experts view mentoring not just as a one-on-one relationship but also as a component of networking. You gain valuable knowledge by interacting with many experienced people. You can (and should) have multiple mentors and mentor many others. Mentoring is mutually beneficial.

Benefits of Being Mentored Include:
• Competency development
• Management visibility and exposure
• Deeper and wider network
• Enhanced career/life planning skills
• Opportunity to gain feedback

Benefits of Mentoring Include:
• Greater job satisfaction
• Management visibility
• Enhanced learning and development in own career
• Deeper and wider network
• Enhanced career/life planning skills
• A better understanding of the more junior people they oversee
• Building a legacy

How to Find a Mentor:
1. Decide what qualities and competencies you want in a mentor. Think about the qualities that you want to develop in yourself.
2. Try and pick people who are not just like you. It is more helpful to have diversity in your mentor relationships.
3. After meeting and establishing that there is a good chemistry, ask the person to be your mentor. Let them know what you respect about them and how you feel the relationship can be beneficial for both of you.
4. Be specific about your needs. Don’t be broad. Let your mentor know if you want to meet once a week, once a month or twice a year. Maybe you just want to be able to call this person when you have a question or a crisis.
5. Be respectful of their limited time, but realize that there are also benefits to them of being a mentor.
6. Take direction. Show sincerity in the relationship. When you ask something, make sure you are listening to the response. Make it clear that you value your mentor’s input. Valuing someone’s input means you actually act on some of it.
7. Follow-up (just like networking). Send thank-you notes. Let them know what advice you took and what happened.

Now … in the words of Nike, just do it!


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