Mentoring and coaching is the process of sharing knowledge and wisdom. Joining mentorship programs or groups can help you find a mentor and shorten your learning curve.
Mentoring is a means of inspiring others by sharing your success, knowledge and wisdom. It is vital for a businesswoman to find a business mentor and mentor others to build connections within her organisation.
Mentoring and coaching in the workplace is an important element in retaining women executives. As a career woman, finding a career mentor provides a safe, confidential environment to explore work, career and sometimes personal issues.
How To Find a Mentor
Having a mentor is a bit like taking the shortcut to success. But, before you find the right mentor, here’s what you should keep in mind:
- People in your network who may have mentoring skills, experience and expertise
- Your expectations from a mentoring relationship.
A great mentor is someone you can learn from, who can offer advice that is factual and actionable. The ideal mentor is one who also possesses effective communication skills in coaching and mentoring.
The best mentors in your area of business may be startup mentors or growth mentors who could help you see the way ahead and make the right decisions in your business growth.
You could also choose your own mentor or find online mentors through mentorship programs, mentorship communities, mentor groups, and mentoring networks that will offer you a unique approach to success in your career or business.
Cynthia is a career-focused businesswoman who believes in learning and dedication rather than power or chemistry. She clearly knows what she wants and at the age of 33, she is the marketing manager of a leading Bio-medical company in India.
At one point when Cynthia had to decide between an MBA degree and a promotion, she sought the help of a peer mentor, who referred her to a mentorship community run by women.
The community assigned her a mentor, but what surprised Cynthia the most was that the program paired her with 10 other peers who would also be her mentors. She learned more from them than she would have from an MBA degree or her former mentor.
Today, Cynthia and a lot of other women say that peer mentors, or people who are at the same level as they are, are the ones who have offered the best solutions because they face the same problems too.
You could join a career mentoring program to find a mentor who has achieved what you wanted to achieve, so they can share their career growth ideas with you. A good mentor creates opportunities, opens doors, and helps you understand your strengths and abilities.
The training you receive and the associations you build through your mentor will eventually enable you to function independently – whatever your ultimate career path might be.
How To Be A Mentor
Mentor-mentee relationships can provide an unparalleled guiding perspective on various aspects of your career. Peer-to-peer mentoring is a great way to build a career network, empower other women, and help them succeed.
If you’re proud of what you’ve accomplished in your career and know what it took to get you where you are today, you can become a mentor. Commitment, interest and confidence in one’s own self are all that is required to be a mentor.
The standard practices of traditional mentor-protégé rules often could not be applied to mentor women. For example, as opposed to women, men generally did not incorporate family aspirations into their career plans.
However, women mentors have changed the old rules of mentorship that were prevalent in male-dominated settings and invented new rules for women mentoring women.
Being a mentor for another woman can work very well if you have the same goals and vision. Several women mentors have found that being a good mentor and helping other women achieve their professional and personal goals gives them a lot of satisfaction.
To be a mentor to anyone is not an easy task, but a mentor-mentee relationship benefits both, the mentor and mentee, and both learn and grow with the mentoring experience.
There have also been instances of mentors finding mentees. If you see yourself in another woman, or if you come across someone in a situation that you have already experienced, you could volunteer to be a mentor.
Someday you might be called to participate in leadership development through mentoring, become a mentor, and acquire coaching and mentoring skills you need for leadership success.
How To Get Mentoring In The Workplace
So, if you’re thinking “I need a mentor,” here are some facts to consider before you set out to find a mentor.
- What do you need right now?
- Who are the people that inspire you professionally?
- What are your commitments and expectations?
- Do you have a timeline?
- What are your concerns and fears?
It is always not necessary that you wait for a work mentor to find you. You can initiate the process and start looking for a mentor, even if it’s just an informal mentoring arrangement.
There are many companies starting executive coaching and mentoring programs and organising mentor-mentee activities, such as speed mentoring in the workplace today.
Here are a few tips on choosing a mentor that will help you know how and where to find a mentor:
Look around you
Sometimes, the people you interact with daily can be a potential mentor. They can be someone you admire professionally, people working with you at your level, or even those who are two or three levels above you.
You can connect with anyone for peer mentoring in the workplace if you feel their advice would help you handle dilemmas, tackle difficult problems, or help you make better decisions.
While a mentor can help you get where you want to go, it is you who has to decide what you want first. Before you expect a mentor to help you go in search of something, you must know what exactly you’re looking for.
Ask your organization
A number of top companies are setting up mentor-mentee programs today to help employees develop their talents. Enrol yourself in such mentoring programs if your organization is offering one.
If not, you can suggest they start one. Even people in your HR department can act as facilitators in helping you find a mentorship network.
Find a peer mentor
It is not necessary that mentors should come with a string of qualifications or titles. Anyone who can help you reach your career ambitions can be a good mentor.
You don’t have to go for famous mentors, even a peer mentor with effective mentoring skills can help you. Ask your HR person if they have a peer mentor program you can participate in.
Read a lot
When you read professional magazines and find articles that inspire you, you can get in touch with the authors whose work you find inspiring. With the right approach, you’ll find a great mentor among those people and someone who is willing to be a mentor to you.
Don’t restrict yourself to a single mentor
It is good to have more than one mentor. Being a part of a mentoring group or choosing different mentors for different aspects, such as switching careers or upskilling is definitely advantageous.
Mentor-mentee programs between women can work out very well as a female mentor can understand your challenges and help you work on creating a good work-life balance.
Joining female mentoring programs and learning how to find a mentor to offer advice on your career path is essential for a woman’s career growth.
If you need a startup mentor to help you launch and grow your business, you can find a small business mentor through entrepreneurship mentorship, business mentorship programs, or startup mentorship programs that help you get a mentor online.
The best mentoring programs understand that everyone needs a mentor at different points of time and they can provide a life mentor, business mentor, or career mentor as an educational or a personal resource to look up to.
In a competitive world, where many women are trying to climb the corporate ladder in the workplace, finding the right mentor to introduce you to the right people and opportunities will help shorten your learning curve and open up opportunities you never thought possible.
The value of mentorship cannot be overestimated, whether it involves mentoring in business or finding a career mentor. If you find yourself in need of free career counselling and career guidance in India, download the SHEROES app for women and get free career advice from career professionals.
About the author:
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