Mentors/Mentoring

The concept of mentoring has been relevant for thousands of years. A mentor is usually someone older and more experienced than the mentee, willing to share knowledge and experience, provide advice and wisdom based on specific expertise. A mentor is someone who may help you with your career, specific work projects, or provide general career-life advice. A mentor rarely provides guidance for personal gain.

Most mentors exhibit the following qualities and skills:

  • a non-judgmental attitude
  • an ability to teach
  • affirmative support of the mentee's potential
  • a naturally hopeful and optimistic attitude
  • acute self-awareness
  • an outstanding communicator
  • a role model for continuous learning

Mentoring consists of a long-term relationship focused on supporting the growth and development of the mentee. The woman who has a mentor in her professional life is very fortunate, however many women lack this advantage. Research on the topic suggests that's due in part to the fact that women are under represented in the C-Suite. 

The lack of female leadership and mentorship is disheartening, since women rate mentorship as a very important contributor to advancing their careers. Without that trusted advisor, guide or teacher, women often struggle in isolation as they face important career-life decisions. 

Being a mentor is a serious undertaking, as it requires a significant investment of time and energy. A good mentor is someone highly committed to helping another find success and gratification in her life, someone who believes she can make a positive impact on the mentee's life.

Mentoring requires commitment and effort from both parties with the results often life changing. Consider approaching someone to mentor you. 

Reflection/Discussion:

1.  Can you name a person who has had an enduring, positive impact on you? Someone you would refer to as a mentor?

2.  What qualities, skills and abilities would you want your mentor to demonstrate?

3.  What are your thoughts and feelings about mentoring someone else?    

   "It's never too late to find a mentor and it's never too late to become one."   

         Barbara Quick, Author: Under Her Wing: The Mentors Who Changed Our Lives      

 

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