Mentoring – It’s the “IN THING”!
Are you wanting to boost your lifestyle, progress in your career and/or find a way to get out of that slump feeling you in? If yes, then mentoring is something you need to consider!
A recent survey done by Forbes shows that mentoring resulted in individuals career success and lifestyles improving in various aspects; such as promotions, raises, change in positions, happier employees etc.
Corporate mentorships in the workplace are hard to find today, even though they matter more than ever! Here’s an interesting fact: 71% of Fortune 500 organisations do! It makes sense why they are so successful! Do we know how many of South Africa’s JSE listed companies offer mentoring as part of their work culture ethos?
Even if your company doesn’t offer mentoring, it does not mean you cannot or will not find a mentor. It’s a matter of asking – cause if you don’t ask the question, the answer to your burning question will always be “no!” And remember, the worst outcome you can get from is a “no”.
Mentoring works “two-ways”
A successful mentorship journey entails commitment, willingness and responsibility from both the mentor and mentee. The core ingredients of success as a mentor and mentee are outlined below.
- What makes a GREAT mentor?
Great mentors don’t have to be successful businesspersons as a pre-requisite! What a great mentor must have is the willingness to develop other individuals, sharing their knowledge and experience in BOTH their successes and their failures.
When looking for a mentor OR if you want to be a mentor, here are five guidelines that determine a successful mentorship journey:
- The mentor seeks no monetary reward when developing and helping the mentee. Great mentors are “clean at heart”.
- Mentoring is a journey, so it requires mentors to ensure availability and commitment. We all have busy lives, and if you cannot avail yourself, then mentoring is not for you. Remember, as a mentor, you essentially are impacting and influencing the mentee’s life.
- Focus on mentoring individuals in areas of common interest, be it industry, topics, profession or even lifestyle (depending on the mentees needs). DO NOT get involved in aspects where you have not placed your feet; it is a waste of time and can lead to frustration! And as mentioned earlier, share BOTH your successes and failures! Ask yourself the following: Do I want my mentee to fall in the same traps I did?
- Setup a development and goal plans schedule with the following initiatives:
- Development Objectives
- Development activities to meet the development objectives
- Timelines for completion of development activities
- Resources/support required from the mentor to support the mentee in the above.
- Finally, listen! Successful mentors listen to their mentees, and then execute. It’s very much like being successful in business – if you don’t listen to your customer and employee, you are heading towards failure!
- What makes a GREAT mentee?
Do you have the openness to want to learn; are you ready to show gratitude for the goodwill provided by your mentor out of heart? If this rings a bell to you, then you are right on track!
When starting a mentorship journey, here are four attributes and characteristics for you to keep in mind:
- Be clear on your career and lifestyle goals and objectives; and communicate these clearly with your mentee. Setting the benchmark upfront clears “grey” clouds! Remember, this is NOT psychiatric therapy, don’t expect your mentor to do the work.
- Go in open-minded and be willing to learn. This does not mean you have to agree with everything, but should you disagree, understand “why”, and clarify this with your mentor. An honest relationship is a genuine relationship!
- Hold accountability and responsibility when working on your Development objectives and Development activities. As much as your mentor helps you identify these, it is you who has to execute!
- Stay committed. This is a journey, and successful mentor-mentee relationships take time to build. Apply these 4 principles in your relationship, namely; commitment, appreciation respect and trust.
I strongly encourage people (if they are ready) to become mentors and see how you can make a difference in another person’s life. At the same time, anyone seeking mentorship, go out and network using social media platforms and your own internal network –remember, if you don’t ask, your answer is automatically “no”!
Mentoring makes a difference! As both a mentor and mentee, I have experienced success on both ends of the table, and the feeling one gets when achieving success, no words can describe it!
Hiten Keshave CA(SA)| MBA