What is Mentoring?
Mentoring is sharing knowledge, skills, and life experience to guide another towards reaching their full potential. Mentoring is a positive, supportive relationship, encouraging young professionals to develop to their fullest potential.
Mentoring is multi-faceted; it can be formal or informal and may change and evolve as the needs of the mentee change. A mentor can be a role model, coach, sounding board, voice of reason, counselor, and a trusted resource. Mentors care and assure their mentee that they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges. Ultimately, mentoring connects young professionals to personal and professional growth and development.
Sustaining Healthy Mentor Relationships
To make the most of a mentoring relationship, start with a formal agreement that outlines the roles and expectations of both participants. Including details such as when the pair will meet, how frequently and for how long, and what the goals of the relationship are will build a strong foundation for the relationship.
While the duration and frequency of mentoring meetings varies, most mentoring partners meet or talk once a month for about an hour. The format and content of these conversations may vary, but typically consist of brainstorming sessions to solve problems, updates and follow-ups on current projects, or more focused discussion of professional development topics. A mentoring relationship should not be considered an inside track to the top or an opportunity to complain; it is a respectful and professional relationship in which both parties can learn from the experience and each other.
As the relationship develops, mentees should remember to share their successes with their mentors and make sure the mentor knows how valuable their time and insight is. Remember that mentoring is about sharing knowledge and expertise in a way that benefits both of the participants and thereby helps to build and strengthen the industry as a whole.