People seek mentoring for support and guidance with a range of work, life or career issues. Mentoring can be used in educational, career, business or entrepreneurial development. The role of the mentor is to encourage and support you in your development and growth, while helping you achieve your goals. A conversation with your mentor is confidential, affirming and objective.
Mentors usually have various backgrounds and experience. It is important that your mentor is a good fit for you and your needs. A good mentor is someone who is respected in their field, which may be the same field as yours, or a different one. It needs to be someone you consider to have the necessary life and work experience to guide you in the areas you’re seeking support with.
I have a variety of life and work experience as a manager, educator, writer and small business owner. Having worked in the fields of education, social communication, music and the creative arts, coaching and counselling my skills are broad and dynamic. I have mentored and coached people from various fields, which have formed great mentoring and working relationships and span many years.
What is Mentoring?
Mentoring aims to support you in achieving your priorities. It is a professional partnership with an experienced other, who has the skills to guide you to a greater understanding and insights about any topics, issues or areas you want to explore in your life, career or business.
Mentoring happens through a conversation in which your mentor guides, encourages and supports you to implement changes or actions you want to make. To be clear, Mentoring is not advice-giving or coaching.
How is a mentoring different to coaching?
Mentoring is a more informal, long-term process that you may dip in and out over the course of your career or working life, when particular issues come up.
On the other hand, coaching is for a short period of time and is more formal, contractual arrangement.
Coaching is about a particular issue and is outcomes driven. Mentoring is a more informal association between a mentor and mentee, whereas coaching is a more formal and structured approach, and is outcomes driven.
What does a Mentor do?
A mentor supports you along the various stages of your chosen career, life or business path. Mentors help you explore topics or issues that you want to gain a deeper understanding of or a different perspective on. A good mentor is willing to share what they know at a level that will match your stage of development and understanding.
You set the agenda for the conversations and make your own decisions about how you want to implement any insights or connections you make. Through the mentoring relationship, you can develop your skills and confidence, whilst being supported in your learning and growth.
What are some of the benefits of having a mentor?
Mentoring can help by giving you immediate support and encouragement after a setback, or when you may need more confidence to act on decisions. Mentoring may give you a renewed curiosity and openness to new opportunities.
A conversation with your mentor can help you clarify a situation and reset some goals and priorities. Honest feedback from your mentor may provide a learning edge on something you may have struggled with.
You may benefit from the mentoring relationship itself, in which you experience acceptance and respect, shared knowledge and understandings.
This results in insights into your own and others’ reactions to situations may give you a greater range of choices.
These are some of the typical things that people come to a mentor for:
- Ongoing support and guidance in your work role
- Help to exploring new career, business or work opportunities
- Conversations about challenges that arise at work or in business
- Help to manage tricky dynamics at work
- Help to maximise their career or business potential
According to entrepreneur, Oprah Winfrey: “a mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.”
What to expect in a mentoring session
The mentoring process starts with gaining clarity about what you want from your mentor and the expectations we have of each other. It focuses on your goals and setting a valued direction. Boundaries will be negotiated around the type and frequency of contact and the ethical guidelines of a professional mentoring relationship. As your mentor, I will provide feedback and give you suggestions when appropriate. Agreed tasks in between sessions will help you to be accountable and monitor your achievement. People often find it helpful to be accountable to their mentor, so this will be explored on an individual basis.
I will support and guide you in an affirming, non-judgemental and accepting manner.
As a mentor, my strengths are my ability to listen intently, to ask questions that may lead to new perspectives and insights, and help you make connections.
Mentoring is offered online through my virtual meeting room, or by phone.
Sessions are 45 minutes, arranged at a mutually agreeable time.
Here are some things you may want to think about before a session with your mentor:
- What are the topics or issues that you want help or support on?
- Are these new topics or issues, or recurring themes you’re experiencing in other workplaces or ventures?
- If you’ve experienced these issues before, what solutions were helpful in the past. How helpful or not? Why?
- Why these topics and not other topics?
- If you could make the change you want, how would that impact on the whole experience?