Mentoring is a great opportunity for a few reasons. Studies have shown that people with mentors have a higher success rate of moving up the ladder. It gives you an opportunity to take action on achieving your goals. The mentor can help provide an unbiased view, give suggestions for conflict resolution, be a sounding board for ideas, and much more.
Last year I was involved in a year-long mentorship program thru Michigan Council of Women in Technology (MCWT). It matched up mentees with a mentor who was at a more senior level. The ultimate goal was to help improve the mentee’s personal and professional lives. I’d listen to monthly webinars related to specific topics, complete short assignments related to that month’s topic, participate in a seminar and attend a conference. Plus, I was given the chance to take the role of project manager for the Pay-It-Forward project. (Each mentee was responsible for a portion of coordinating/executing an event from start to finish.) I got matched with an awesome mentor and we met once a month for a one-hour dinner. Overall, I found the experience to be very rewarding.
This year, I felt it was important for me to return the favor to someone else. So I signed up as a mentor. It will be an interesting experience, since it’s a bit of a role reversal. However, I’m up to the challenge and eager to help another person reach their goals.
I encourage you to find someone to mentor you. Or to consider being a mentor. Mentors don’t necessarily have to be people in your organization. There are so many alums you can reach out to using LinkedIn. Think out of the box and get creative. It can be something as informal as meeting for a cup of coffee in the morning once a month. Or more formal, by finding a professional group that offers a structured program. Either way, it’s a win-win situation for both parties!
Have you been a mentor or mentee before? What was your experience like?