The Post-Gazette.com ran an article on Monday, October 19, 2009 by Ralph Bangs and Larry E. Davis called “Mentoring programs can build diversity in management”.
The article said mentoring is the #1 strategy for people to succeed. I agree, being mentored is critical in all areas and stages of our lives.
There are different kinds of mentoring: peer, group, one on one, online, in-person and over the phone.
Mentoring continues to play a huge role in my life. Without mentors in my life, I honestly don’t know where I´d be right now. As I continue to evolve, mentors play a powerful role in all areas in my life and career. I have also advised countless people at the same time, I had no clue they considered me their mentor. They asked questions and I just answered.
Professionally, I’ve written, lectured, taught and consulted regarding mentoring. Here is what I´ve learned.
Everyone needs mentors – including CEOs of Fortune 100 companies. The difference between CEOs of a corporation, middle managers and college graduates is in how one goes about getting mentors.
No one will raise their hand and say, “I want to be your mentor!” Many mentors don´t even realize that others consider them mentors. The term “mentor” can put a tremendous amount of pressure on the mentor because the mentee has expectations that often cannot reasonably be met.
So, if it is more comfortable, use the word “adviser” instead. Seek people who can advise you on a particular issue or tool that you need to master.
Listen carefully to the advice that is given. Often if it is from family and close friends. They may have your best intentions in mind, but often they don’t want you to be disappointed and hurt, so their advice may be subjective, focused on protecting you. Ask different people, people who look and think differently than you and know a lot more about the area that you need to master.
You need to be prepared before you ask for an adviser/mentor.
You have to:
- Acknowledge that you need and want help
- Know what kind of help you want (presence, technical assistance, leadership skills, or management skills)
- Identify people who have what you want
- Learn about those people
- Know that as you move up rank the more willing you will need to be to seek advice, identify mentors and be willing to be uncomfortable.
- Get comfortable being uncomfortable, this is the only way you can grow
You will need more than a mentor, you will need a sponsor. You will want someone to sponsor you into their network. To attract a sponsor you will have to do a lot of internal work on yourself and acknowledge your Connectors TM.
Connectors TM are those similarities that people have with each other that bind them together – industry, experience, family structure, etc. We have Connectors TM with everyone in our environment. We have to do some digging and find them.
Pegine´s Thought of the Month:
Be a mentor to someone else and find a mentor for yourself. To walk the path of success you need to do both actions.
Quote of the Month:
“Mentor: Someone whose hindsight can become your foresight” ~ Anonymous
If you want to move into the upper echelons of your industry notice what those who currently occupy those jobs do effectively:
- What volunteer organizations do they belong to?
- What do they read?
- What do they listen to?
- What committees are they on?
- Read their speeches – what are they focusing on?
- Where do they do their clothing and food shopping?
Then assess yourself. What Connectors TM do you have that are similar to theirs? What interests you? Would you be willing to join one of their committees?
Check your own network.
- Who is in your network?
- Who is missing who you would like to have in your network?
- Are the people in your network a reflection of where you want to be? If not, why not?
This is a very important assessment.
To grow to higher levels of corporate and entrepreneurial success there are major internal shifts you have to be willing to go through. If you aren´t willing, then you may not ever access the mentors you will need to grow to higher levels.
It is your choice.
Too often we focus on top down in diversity and not bottom up. Diversity and Inclusion is a two way street. It is important that we not only look at what they can do for us, but what we can do for ourselves. We can make ourselves very, very mentor friendly by taking actions and being responsible for our personal development.
Reprinted from “Pegine’s Motivational E-zine for Leaders in a Diverse World”. Subscribe at www.pegine.com. For information call 904-280-8806. (c)2009.
Your blog post showed up in my Google Alerts. My blog is called The Invisible Mentor and an invisible mentor is defined as a unique leader you can learn things from by observing them from a distance. You are absolutely correct when you say that some people do not realize that they are mentors to others.
I have been putting together a Board of Mentors for myself because I can get different things from each mentor. The people who I approach and who have accepted know that they can call on me for other things. Mentoring is a relationship – it’s give and take.
Thank you for your post!