There is no one more interested in your career than you!
You can influence your career by hard work delivering real results and making the right choices.
I have been very lucky over my 30+ year career in industry to have had great mentors, and also when the time came, to become a mentor myself to many great people.
I think I have gotten more out of my role as a Mentor than a Mentee if I am truly honest.
The reverse mentor-mentee relationship with an experienced leader can be truly rewarding, especially when it comes to understanding the aspirations, concerns, dreams and challenges of a different generation.
Finding a mentor
The Best Mentors come from within your own organisation, but if you are in a smaller environment, it is beneficial to find someone in a non-competitive but likeminded role.
What to look for in a mentor?
A good Mentor is an experienced individual (generally highly respected, influential and in a more senior position) who acts as a trusted personal counsellor, guide and advisor to a less-experienced person. Both personal and professional discussions are the basis of a close, trusting mentor relationship.
What to expect from your mentor relationship?
Effective mentoring can only occur once a trusting relationship has been formed.
The mentor needs to be more experienced than the mentee in the area that help is being requested. That does not mean, however, that one needs many years of service to be an effective mentor. For example, a third-year female manager/leader could very well be an effective mentor for a new hire female manager/leader in the area of on-boarding effectively into a majority male environment, etc.
I have the job I do now because of having an effective mentor. I truly believe that without them I would not be here, and If I could have used a mentor earlier in my career, I would have reached my career objectives sooner.
As a mentor, your responsibility is to be a trusted advisor to help people achieve their fullest potential.
The Mentor should work with the individual to establish a regular schedule of meetings and review agreements made during these meetings. The Mentor should also be available for ad-hoc time on the phone or face to face when there is a specific issue/problem to discuss.
What to take away from your mentor?
Mentors do not give answers. They help the mentee understand the process that she/he should follow to answer their questions. This is where experience plays a key role in the effectiveness of mentors. A common trap is that the mentor feels compelled to help the mentee by giving them an answer, but an effective Mentor should help them with the process, in order to arrive at their answer.
Mentors advise, based on what they feel is best for the individual, not what is best for the company.
The mentor has to rely on her/his ability to influence without the benefit of a supervisory relationship. Mentors develop in others such things as how to be politically savvy, sensitivity to the organization’s culture and the individual’s ability to proactively manage her/his own career.
Careers are unique to each person and are dynamic, unfolding throughout life.
Working in recruitment at Miller Leith is a natural extension to the Industry Mentor role I used to play in the past. Our goal at Miller Leith is to support and enable you with your journey. We will challenge your assumptions/predisposition, highlight an emerging opportunity for you and help you land that next role or find that exceptional candidate.
If you’d like advice on how to approach a potential mentor, or how to become to be a great mentor, I’d love to have a discussion with you.