Coach's Casebook

The Power of a Mentor

The Power of a Mentor

Sometimes you will find yourself unable to see a way ahead in your work life. At times like these, the benefits of someone that can help you are immense. If you can build a relationship with a person then they may be able to help you grow and develop and perhaps they may become a permanent mentor.

Benefits of a Mentor

1. An assistant who can help you develop your personal and work life.

2. A useful sounding board that can listen and provide an independent judgement without any fear of the feedback having a negative effect on your career.

3. A guide and perhaps a champion if you need extra training or development.

4. A person who puts your agenda first and acts as a motivator and personal change agent.

5. A person who helps you on a path of self discovery for your benefit.

Qualities of a Mentor

1. They are totally trustworthy. They are working with you at a professional yet quite intimate level and so trust is essential for you to expose your professional weaknesses and concerns without fear of ridicule or impact.

2. They must be patient. Development can take a long time, particularly when there is a high level of complexity. Your mentor will need to be patient, persistent and help you stay on track.

3. A mentor must astute enough to ask the deep probing questions that will help you identify personal shortfalls.

4. They must be committed to making the relationship work. If you are both non-committal, the mentoring process is doomed.

The Mentor-Mentee Relationship

When you find a person that is willing to be your Mentor, it is important to agree the terms of the relationship. You should both be committed to that relationship and so it is worth spending time establishing the scope of the activity, the level of individual commitment and the boundaries you both want to work within.

When I enter this relationship I have guidelines:

1. Absolute confidentiality. What goes on in the relationship stays within that relationship.

2. I am willing to commit to regular meetings to discuss goals, aims, techniques and progress. I am also willing to entertain the occasional irregular contact, but generally only when my Mentee has exhausted their own resources and have hit a barrier that they cannot pass.

3. If either of us make a commitment, it is exactly that, a commitment.

4. If we agree a meeting time, we are never late. Being late shows disrespect.

5. There will be a time when the relationship grows beyond both of us. Either person can withdraw from the relationship without any guilt providing it is done with respect and good grace.

Most other guidelines we work out together but these are generally enough to begin the process.

Anyone can benefit from a Mentor so see if you can find someone who could help you progress and ask them to help. Most senior people are very happy to help those who recognize the need for help and are brave enough to ask.

Dare to Aspire

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