Mentoring – the key to network building and maximizing your potential

In a video I presented for a major bank, I was discussing mentoring. People often mistake mentoring for coaching, but there’s a difference. If you work for yourself, for a small company, or in a large organisation, having a mentor is a great way to turbo-boost your career. I thought I’d share some of those thoughts with you:

What do Robert De Niro, Yves Saint Laurent, Richard Branson, Pope Benedict XVI and Sheryl Sandberg have in common? Try Googling that, and for once you won’t get the answer!

The answer is they all still have and benefit from a mentor.

Of course you don’t have to be a celebrity to have one. Many people who work for themselves or work in large organisations enjoy the benefits of having a mentor.

Mentoring is a gift whatever stage of your career you are at, and is absolutely essential to support the development of your talent, or your career or business development.  Your mentor will be someone who is experienced in your industry – they’ll know the culture of the business so they can advise and support you.

Mentoring and network-building

Your mentor is a route to you developing the most valuable resource for your career progression – a network. Promotion is not just about being good at your job it’s also about having the right contacts to get things done and be known by others.

Today the lines between mentoring and networking are blurring.  Welcome to the world of ‘mentworking’.

Julie Winkle Giulioni, Author and Corporate Consultant

Mentors are committed to giving you time. They’ll listen, share their experience, guide and counsel you, and give you feedback to help you progress. Most importantly your mentor will not be evaluating or assessing you.  If you work for a large organisation they have no input on your salary or promotion. They will also not mediate between you and your boss. They are not skills trainers or coaches. This layer of independence and objectivity mean focus completely on supporting and guiding you.

Choosing a mentor

Of course you need to pick the right one this is a relationship founded on trust, openness and confidentiality. Large companies who have mentoring programmes, or independent mentoring  organisations have sophisticated databases, to make sure the mentor is the right fit for you.

Finding the right mentor is the start of you maximizing your potential.  The next step is agreeing your goals and how you will achieve them. The exact schedule of your meeting is up to you and your mentor. Usually this’ll be every 2 to 3 months. Your agreed objectives will be a continual and dynamic reference point so you stay on track.

Think about whether you’d like to join the list of people who benefited from having a mentor. It’s a great list. Can you afford not to be on it?

Good luck!

David Solomon
Managing Director, Sun and Moon Training

Photo copyright: highwaystarz / 123RF Stock Photo