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Mentoring is a Privilege and an Obligation

(posted: July 3rd, 2009)

Mentors are everywhere: parents, siblings, friends and colleagues. We have grown up looking to others to support us through our success and challenges. How do you find the right mentor for your particular stage in your career and what value can you add to a mentee?

Mutual mentoring, also known as reciprocal mentoring, occurs when each person brings to the table knowledge to teach and a different topic to learn and they agree to exchange mentor and mentee roles as appropriate. This is a two-way process in which each party gives and gains.

"Most executives find mentoring a compelling program, they can actively improve their employee's skills, boost information sharing and create better trained employees who are willing to accept greater responsibility."

Harvard Business Review

Can you see the potential in the workplace, for example, between the tech super-savvy Gen Y/Millennials who may be challenged in some of their in-person and formal written communication skills and the Boomers who are working to become more technologically adept and have developed through education and practice more effective communication skills? The possibilities are endless based on skills and behavior desired and needed for career/life achievement and fulfillment.

"Everyone has the power for greatness, not for fame but greatness, because greatness is determined by service."

Martin Luther King Jr.

You should be strategic about the best mentoring strategy for you. Considering factors such as why you'd like to be mentored, what your strengths are, what objectives you have, and who you should approach. With that as a given, there are a wide range of successful mentoring relationships available - mentorship across roles, across organizations, across geographies, etc.

So be strategic about how you'd like to grow through mentorship (as a mentor or a mentee) and flexible about how you get those benefits.

As you seek the right mentor for you, be specific about your goals and your skills, and consider tactical factors such as location and time commitment etc., before reaching out to your targeted list of potential mentors, generally who are two levels above where you are within an organization. Then have the confidence to approach the targeted mentor and impress with your clarity on goals, objectives, roles, etc., and they will be more likely to make that mentoring commitment.

Many of the best corporations are invested in the success of their workforce and support structured and grassroots affinity and mentoring circle programs designed to support the staff. Investigate what your organization is doing in support of its people, and how you can contribute to it and benefit from it.

Whether you're within a corporation, in a start-up, in transition, or on your own, develop a mentoring plan that works for you, benefiting yourself, your organization, your community.

Not only does mentoring help organizations meet business objectives, but it also creates long-term advantages for mentors and mentees alike.

Challenge Yourself
  • What hidden treasures have you discovered in a mentor or mentee relationship?

I would love to hear.

This blog post was originally posted at www.linked2leadership.com.


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