Six Ways a Mentor Can Make a Difference
By Guest Author Lisa Tener
If the latest studies are to be believed, more mentoring of women executives is not necessarily resulting in promotions to top positions.
Instead, the studies say, women need sponsors to sponsor them for top positions. Important to know, but a mentor's role is not merely to help you reach a position in the upper echelons of a company.
There are other important reasons to seek mentors:
- To help you define success in the first place: A good mentor can help you create a vision for where you're going. In addition to sharing how others have been successful in your current environment, a mentor can help you think about what would work for you. Your mentor can help you assess whether your values match the corporate values.
- To help you be successful in your current job: Your mentor can help you assess the skills you need and where to find them. They can also provide an experienced view on any challenges you are experiencing and offer solutions to problems, systematic ways to implement strategies, and other things that have worked well for them and their peers in similar situations.
- To model what works: Ask your mentor to share stories of what's worked in their careers and what hasn't. Learn from your mentors' experiences.
- To help you specifically when you are changing jobs: Bonnie Marcus, author of The Politics of Promotion, says, "The mentor can offer advice on how to best navigate in the new work environment and give information about the people and politics. They can also help mentees by introducing them to potential allies and champions as well as give their informed opinion on how to promote their ideas and create visibility for themselves.
- To offer strategies that lead to success, including promotion: Beth B. Kennedy, a leadership coach who has taught many leaders how to begin a successful mentoring relationship, shares that many of her clients have had mentoring relationships that have impacted their long term success. She notes, "A current client of mine learned strategies from her mentor that led to her promotion. Her mentor taught her ways to raise her visibility in an authentic way, as well as some excellent delegation and time management strategies."
- To help you make good decisions: When you're facing a difficult decision a mentor can offer "recharge and support" according to Kennedy.
Lisa Tener is an author, trainer and four-time Stevie Award winner, including the Silver Stevie Award for Mentor/Coach of the Year 2014. Lisa serves on faculty at Harvard Medical School’s CME publishing course and blogs on topics like on how to find a literary agent. You can also find her posts on the Huffington Post. Follow Lisa on Twitter @LisaTener and Facebook.
"When Doing It All Won't Do: A self-coaching guide for career women" by Barbara McEwen & John G. Agno.