At the end of November 2018 we closed the inaugural Rise mentoring programme with a little celebratory drinks event with the mentees, mentors and sponsors. The recurring comment during the evening was, “This has changed my life,” – from both mentees and mentors. Having been a mentee on a similar programme six years ago and a mentor this time around, I can vouch for both sides. So what were the benefits?
Identifying your goals
A mentoring relationship should always be focused on helping a mentee to achieve specific goals. Although you may have ultimate career aspirations, mentoring can help you to set and articulate your goals so that they are clearly defined and achievable. Your mentor will also be able to support you in identifying strategies and potential routes to succeed.
A new impartial relationship
In some instances, asking for support and advice in a workplace can be perceived as a sign of weakness. By building up a relationship outside the working environment with someone that you can talk to in an open and honest way can be professionally liberating and help you to work through any issues that you feel you need to address.
Increasing your self confidence
Mentoring can help people lacking self belief, as your mentor can help you to focus on your achievements, skills and capabilities. By realising and reinforcing your strengths, you will build trust in your own abilities, increase your confidence and empower you in your workplace.
Benefiting from impartial advice and learn how to accept feedback – and act on it
Feedback and impartial advice can be hard to take, especially if it’s something you feel is critical, or you don’t want to hear. Remember that your mentor’s focus is always to support you and have your best interests at heart. Learning to receive all kinds of feedback is essential to grow professionally.
And don’t forget – learning how to receive feedback positively in a safe mentoring environment can also help you to learn to effectively react and act on feedback given in your workplace.
Expanding your networks
By developing your relationship with your mentor, they can introduce you to new and different networks, which could open new (and unexpected) doors for you professionally. Additionally, through a programme you will have the chance to regularly meet and share your ideas and experiences with your peers… and start to build up your own supportive and unique network.
Improving your communication and presentation skills
Building good communication and presentation skills can be crucial for your career to develop. This will ensure that you can demonstrate that you are confident, capable and knowledgeable, which will in turn ensure that colleagues, clients and beyond will believe in you and your abilities.
Mentor schemes are so beneficial to everyone who takes part, and I urge you to get involved in one as mentor, mentee or sponsor.