Learning about personal encounters and real experiences of mentoring through a recent Next Gen webinar has been truly eye-opening.
The panellists’ diversity was enlightening and they described mentoring as “the best way to jump to the front of the queue”.
Mentoring gives you that extra advantage and oomph over others when it provides individualised, immediate, “just-in-time” learning from your mentor, with advice and feedback specifically relevant to your life situations.
Major benefits of mentoring discussed by the panel included:
- Mentoring will pass on knowledge from one generation to another so that we can learn from the other person’s challenges.
- Mentoring can build resilience in mentors and mentees when they learn from each other’s shared knowledge and experiences.
- Mentoring helps build strong personal and professional bonds and friendships between the two parties.
- The impartial attitude from a mentor can give the mentee the power of advocacy, the capacity to tackle challenges and wise counsel.
- Mentors can provide vicarious persuasion when there is a strong bond between the parties, and can persuade mentees to believe in themselves.
- Mentors can act as a champion for mentees when they believe that mentees can step up and do more.
This abundance of shared experience has inspired me to seek mentoring now, so I share the main tips and strategies discussed in the session to build the greatest mentoring relationship:
- A two-way street: Make sure your mentoring relationship is a shared pathway that allows both parties to learn from each other’s experiences. One of the hurdles in achieving this can be the positional and hierarchical differences between your mentor and yourself. Make sure to continue with a learning attitude, despite these differences.
- Rules: Establish rules of engagement and take responsibility to follow them. For example, when and how you will meet and holding yourself accountable for the tasks assigned. This shows that you respect and value their time and input.
- The easiest way to get something is to give first: If you can’t find an appropriate mentor, be a mentor for someone else instead because this will be a valuable experience.
- Anti-mentors: If you can’t find an appropriate mentor (or even if you have a mentor already), find an Anti-mentor. An anti-mentor is someone who demonstrates the qualities and behaviours you don’t want in yourself. Use this to drive you to improve on these weaknesses within yourself and be a role model for others.
A key question is: How do you find a mentor in the first place?
The panel pointed out that you need to be conveying your desires in your conversations with people you admire. Know what you offer, what you are asking for and what you are aiming to achieve from a mentoring relationship. Then, think of who you need to approach to receive that guidance. What gender will they be? What professional role or leadership level should they be in? Do those characteristics need to be the same or different to your own?
In today’s world, use social media to your advantage and find out about potential mentors to approach them. Use LinkedIn to connect, listen and interact, then message people individually and find them through your key interest groups.
If you are unsure how you can drive mentoring relationships with intent and nurture them with success, you still have formal mentoring programs to support you to build and grow your mentoring network – as we can always use more than one mentor in our lives!
Also, don’t forget LASA has some great resources to help you too! The LASA Mentoring Program is a program that supports mentees to dive into mentoring with intent, with coaching, support, online resources and so much more. It definitely won’t leave you to figure things out alone.
You can reach out today to find out more about the LASA Mentoring Program and how it can support your mentoring journey. The LASA Mentoring program runs biannually.
Visit www.lasa.asn.au/mentoring for more information.