In an ever rapidly growing, fast paced changing world of work, which has witnessed the demise of the once aspired to, ‘job for life,’ partnering yourself with a Mentor(s) throughout your working life is a valuable proposition and can be a real asset to your career development.
Many successful entrepreneurs, such as Richard Branson, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg (whose mentor was, in fact, Steve Jobs!) used Mentors to provide themselves initially with the practical advice, networking opportunities and problem-solving strategies that only a practitioner of a successful business can provide; some things after all, cannot be gleaned from books, or online!
Personally, I have worked with a Mentor, or Coach, since leaving school. A Mentor can be a great sounding board for your ideas and provide you with impartial advice, encouragement and feedback when needed. The role of Mentor is also invaluable in providing professional and personal development opportunities to help you overcome hurdles and find solutions in an increasingly competitive and global market-place. The key thing is that the role of Mentor and Mentee is a mutually beneficial and supportive relationship of potential equals.
There is no compulsion to search only within the Events Industry for a Mentor; in fact it is beneficial that you do not and instead, seek a Mentor from a different sector, or career path to your own, as then you are more likely to be shaken into learning new strategies which will positively impact on your continuous professional development. You may already know someone who has achieved some of the things that you would like to achieve – in terms of their career, or business who can help you carve out, or at least map, your career aspirations. So long as this potential Mentor is someone you can respect and look up to, a mentor can be from all and any walk of life.
Marion Lowrence, owner of the PA Hub and winner of the National PA Awards in 2012 explains why she works with a Mentor:
The benefits of having a Mentor are immense. Having a helping hand to guide you and encourage you to reach your personal goals is essential to your development. Having a second opinion from someone who can see your capabilities and can help you move out of your comfort zone might be all you need to be outstanding. You may not realise your own potential but if someone else thinks you can achieve it, you feel more able to accomplish your goals
If you are wondering why someone would take the time out of their busy schedules to mentor you, you could be surprised by how many people would be willing to take on this role and be given the opportunity to help. As well as being mentored herself, Marion mentors other young PAs and observes the following on the role of being a Mentor:
Being a mentor is my way of giving back. I am truly motivated when I see my Mentees develop and achieve their goals and strengthen in character achieving a successful outcome. As a mentor/Mentee relationship grows it is very much a two way process. I gain just as much from being a Mentor as I give to my Mentees. It is very much a learning process for both sides. The trust grows, the successes are numerous and the system works I truly believe being a Mentor and having a Mentor has equal value and nobody can learn too much
In order to increase employee retention and productivity, many companies have established Mentoring Programmes for their employees. These workplace Mentoring Programmes can retain skilled staff and develop future leaders, vastly minimising the impact that a high turnover of staff can have on a company. Mentoring schemes also result in happier employees and encourage a learning culture where best practice is shared throughout the organisation.
So, if you identify someone who you think would be a great Mentor for you, go ahead and the chances are…they would be honoured to help you.