Mentorship: Dead or alive?
This weeks topic focuses on mentors – what a healthy mentorship looks like, why they’re a good idea and some suggested old-school badasses we can all learn from.
What is a mentor? It all centres on advice. In its simplest form, a mentor is a more experienced individual helping another achieve his or her goals and develop as a person. A mentorship can develop organically through and be informal in nature. For example, your old manager taking you for coffee once a month. Or it can be put in place throughout an organisation. There are heaps of benefits to an organisation including cross-team collaboration, intergenerational relationships and significant impact on recruitment and retention.
What is needed for a good mentorship:
- Contact: Whether you are the mentor or the mentee, you should try to maintain consistent communication and always have a way of contacting each other. We’d suggest a Whatsapp channel to get over any competing time zones.
- Context: A mentor needs to know the medium and long-term goals of the mentee. Making sure this is the basis of your relationship so no time is wasted.
- Confidentiality: One of the key benefits of mentorship is the ability to tap into a mentors network. Whilst this is awesome, it’s really important that on both sides you know the conversation won’t leave the meeting when asked.
While formal mentor programs are great and ensure that both mentors and mentees know what they are signing up for, there are many other ways you can create a mentor/mentee relationship. Here are our favourites:
- Peer-to-peer mentorship: Getting mentorship from leaders is a great idea but in reality, leaders are often extremely busy and managing large cohorts of people. In the absence of a leader with an hour free, find a friend. Ideally not from your department or if possible, organisation. Dedicate the time to both share your career goals and give advice.
- Mentor from the grave: Okay, so this one is not quite a mentorship per se. But for most industries, there are successful people, dead and alive, who have passed on their wisdom through interviews and books. Do some research, pick an idol and soak in as much knowledge as possible.
Here are some great pearls of wisdom from our mentors from afar…
“Let’s go invent tomorrow rather than worrying about what happened yesterday. Once you discover one simple fact, and that is everything around you that you call life, was made up by people that were no smarter than you.”
Needs no introduction
“You cannot do everything alone–especially when you get to a certain level. It is impossible.”
Founder of Chobani yogurt
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