We understand mentoring: who are a mentor and menti, how a mentor can help people and how to organize work with him, if you have never done this before.
Mentoring is a tool for career growth and self-development. By sharing their experience, a mentor can help you reach a new level in your career or start your business project. His ward, that is, you, is called a Menty.
In simple terms, a mentor is a person who is closer to point B than you are. He works in the same field, but 2-4 career steps higher. A person from other professions is not suitable, he will not bring you the results you need. For example, if you are an HR manager or an HR function leader who is pursuing a vertical career, then your potential mentor is the HR director.
Before looking for a mentor, decide on a career goal. Assess where you are now and what point B you want to come to. Without this understanding, mentoring support is meaningless.
How to choose a mentor for yourself
- Detail the field of activity.
- Study a potential mentor from a professional point of view: how he developed, what career he built.
- Pay attention to personality traits
You need to proceed from what your career goal is, the same point B. For example, you dream of becoming the HR director of an IT company, then you should choose the HR director of an IT company as a mentor. If the level of the company matters to you, for example, you want to lead HR in a global corporation, then look for a mentor with similar experience.
For a mentor to advance you in your career, it must be an experienced professional or entrepreneur who has already achieved your professional goal and is confidently on his feet.
It’s great if his career path was similar to yours. For example: he left recruitment, grew up vertically and took the position of HR director. If you follow the same logic, then such a mentor may suit you. And if, for example, he came to the position of HR director through family ties, that is, he has a different career path, this is not your option. Choose a mentor who has taken roughly the same career steps as you, only five years ahead.
This person should be pleasant to you, interesting, close in views. To feel if there is personal sympathy, you can search in advance for his articles, speeches at conferences, videos, read his social networks. It seems to me that sympathy is necessary when working with a mentor. Trust should develop between you. You should be comfortable with this person.
There is even such a point of view that a mentor should coincide with you in personal qualities, you should be similar to each other. I do not share this opinion. It seems to me that if you do not coincide with the mentor on personal qualities, it is even better.
For example, you are emotional and he is a calm introvert. When there is trust, then you can learn new reactions, you can look at the situation from a different angle. Such a person will expand you and advance you more than someone like you.
Where to find a mentor
Modern business is moving towards maximum openness. Everyone is present on Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, even state corporations. Therefore, look for a mentor on social media.
I usually do this. Since I work in online training, I take a list of top EdTech companies, subscribe to all leaders and functional leaders. I follow their successes, problems, thoughts. This allows me to keep abreast of all events, to know who is working where, to understand who and for what kind of expertise I can apply.
In any area, the algorithm is the same. For example, your career goal is to become the HR director of an IT company. Find TOP-50 IT companies, subscribe to the HR of these companies, add them as friends and start monitoring their activities.
You can also meet a potential mentor at professional conferences, industry events. I recommend not to miss them, there is a lot of interesting things going on there. At the very least, study the list of speakers and, if you like someone, add them as friends.
How to work with a mentor
So you’ve followed your potential mentors on social media. What’s next?
You can follow these people for a while, understand who you like, and then write. Or you can immediately take it and write to everyone.
Do what is most comfortable for you. I choose the first option, because I am a cautious person, I prefer to first observe, draw conclusions. But I also think the second option is absolutely acceptable if it suits you and you cannot wait.
How can you be answered
- They will immediately be interested and agree. Then you need to make your first appointment.
- They may refuse.
This is normal and rejection should be taken lightly. Either this is not your person, or the time is not right and next time he will not refuse. The main thing is to understand that it is not at all about you. When you are looking for a mentor, you may feel some vulnerability because you open up to another person with your personal history. This is not accepted in our mentality. There can be a million reasons for refusal alone. I advise you not to pay attention and calmly continue your search.
When a mentor is found, I recommend meeting for acquaintance – in person or at Zoom. Chances are good that your mentor will not have experience of interacting with mentee, because this practice is just evolving. In this case, you may have to take over the organizational issues yourself.
How is the mentoring session going
The first thing to do is to discuss the format of the interaction.
Conduct an orientation mentoring session in which you talk about yourself, your goals and expectations for collaboration. Be sure to make a preliminary list of professional questions that have been worrying you for a long time and use the opportunity to ask them. Your task is to get feedback from the mentor, understand how he sees your work, how real your chances are, listen to his suggestions and evaluate how constructive they are. The main thing is that you will feel if you have established contact.
At the beginning of cooperation, everyone goes through the stage of diagnosis and study of each other.
If you have long-term goals, diagnosis takes 1 to 2 months. In this case, plan to work with a mentor for a year with regular meetings 1-2 times a month. This is optimal. If you have short-term goals, then the diagnostics can be carried out in 1 session and plan the work based on the tasks.
Next, the mentor has a vision of what you need to learn, what skills to gain, what to focus on, what to change in order to do it. to get to point B. You draw up a development plan for a year (or a shorter period for short-term goals), break down large tasks into small ones and determine the deadlines for each task.
Interaction format: face-to-face or online. Each meeting you discuss the intermediate results. You ask questions that have appeared during this time and form tasks for the next period. It is very important to discuss exactly the practical steps you need to take. A mentor can give you ideas that you can’t see because you have a narrower angle of view so far. And at the same time, a mentor can see stoppers in your behavior, unnecessary actions that you perform in your work.
In addition to the meetings themselves, you will be constantly in touch with your mentor. No need to write unnecessary messages with or without. But in case of difficulties or when you need urgent advice, you can calmly seek support and get an additional perspective on your situation. This moment can be immediately spoken at the first meeting.
How much does it cost to work with a mentor
If you have a small request, you can find a mentor for 1-2 meetings. In this case, it is quite possible to find someone who will be happy to meet with you and help you free of charge. People are different. Some have already reached heights and like to share.
But with long-term cooperation and regular interaction to achieve the goal, professional work with a mentor is, of course, a paid option. The cost depends on what area you work in and what your goal is. There is no pricing for these services.