A little while back, I reflected on what I enjoy doing at work and how I could incorporate more of that into my career. I found I like connecting with people on a deep level, and consequently discovered the power of mentorship. I made this a focus of mine and it has become something I’m very passionate about, because I enjoy seeing people grow and develop.
I believe that being a mentor has also helped me grow on both the personal and professional side of things, so no matter where you are in your career, you should consider making yourself available for mentorship.
The benefits of mentorship
A mentor helps mentees achieve their objectives by providing guidance and support in a non-judgemental and open environment. This helps individuals harness their core skills and work through real-life situations and problems to see things from a new perspective.
Mentorship can be mutually beneficial. It enables mentors to impart their experience and develop coaching skills, while mentees benefit from having an experienced individual available to them that can provide support and guidance to help get that promotion, secure that bonus, execute that project, or learn those key skills.
Mentorships also enable two people, who may not otherwise be exposed to each other, the opportunity to build longer-term meaningful relationships that can develop both individuals personally and professionally. Sometimes it’s not just about advice, it’s about having a safe space to discuss issues and challenges without fear of judgment or consequences to your career – this can be so important for our development.
How to get started and make it successful
Individuals that are struggling to see a path forward in their career and want to take their skills to the next level, and people who would like to pass on wisdom and be exposed to fresh perspectives will benefit from being part of a mentorship.
When I first meet with my mentees, it’s critical to establish their objectives and what they need guidance with, while also establishing what they will contribute to making the mentorship work. Successful mentorships are contingent on both parties investing time and attention into the relationship in a way that is mutually agreed upon.
Each mentoring relationship is different and has its own dynamics. Therefore, it’s critical to do the groundwork before starting and be transparent with what each individual wants to get out of it.
In the past, I’ve had mentees say to me, ‘I want to obtain presentation experience, and I need to do it in the next six months.’ We then can take that aim and turn it into a SMART goal and break down the required steps and actions. After agreeing on an objective, we set the schedule for future meetings and the execution plan, so that both parties have consistency and stability.
A mentorship can be game-changing for people’s lives and careers. It can help elevate each person’s skills, ambitions, and ability to reach new levels. My advice to both mentors and mentees is to reach out to each other, be patient, and be consistent!
Q&A: Meet Zoe!
Zoe is a Senior Program Manager at Taulia and chairs the LIFT Women program. She has been a mentor for many years and is very passionate about helping others develop their professional skills and to maximize their potential.
1. What do you most love about being a mentor?
There are many reasons why I love being a mentor, but mainly it’s the honour of being part of someone’s growth and development, and to see them flourish and succeed. Each mentorship is unique, and it’s thrilling to discover what each individual will bring, and how I can help them thrive. These mentorships have helped me develop my empathy and active listening skills, which have been critical to my own career while giving me more exposure to different teams and aspects of the workplace.
2. What advice would you give to young women starting their careers?
I would tell young women starting out in their careers to get a mentor, irrespective of the mentor’s job or location. Women need to be bold and proactively reach out to the individuals they want guidance from. Joining workplace initiatives like Taulia’s LIFT program and Taulia’s LIFT Women can be a great way to network. Essentially, it’s all about finding a support circle that will empower you and invest in your growth and development.
3. What are your top tips for making a successful mentoring relationship work?
- Bring respect to the mentorship – for the time, effort, and commitment both parties are giving.
- Discuss the timeframe. We have to set expectations and focus on our purpose.
- Have deliberate feedback checkpoints throughout, giving the opportunity to reflect on how the mentorship is working.
- Trust one another and listen.