Why Mentoring Is So Important

My last job was in a very male environment. While everyone I worked with were good people, there was a lot of masculine banter and I felt that often, as a woman, my ideas were not as valued as well as my male colleagues’.

I reached out to someone higher up in the company, a woman who was very strong in her position. She is the type of business person who can be seen as cold and heartless, but does the nasty bits of business that no one wants to do – like telling people they’re not meeting their targets. While I didn’t necessarily relate to her or aspire to be like her, I do, at some point in my life want to be a strong business woman on her level.

I emailed her saying that, while I love my job, I aspire to be more but am struggling to find where I can reach or stretch further. That every time I suggest something new, my voice isn’t heard, and that I find it hard to shine where I was. I asked her what I could do to improve – do I need to take an evening business course to get the knowledge needed to move forward? Did I need to be working in different areas to be seen? I thought that if she could just give me some hints, I’d be able to see the path before me a little clearer.

She didn’t reply.

She’s a very busy lady, of course. And of course I am selfish to expect her to spend time helping me when she has a million more important things to do.

My current job sits beneath two women I admire greatly. One is direct and honest, the other is warm and creative. Both are amazing women, and the opportunity to work for them was the biggest selling point of this job. They help me be more confident, they put me in situations that help me grow, and they are leading examples of what I want to be in the future.

And at the same time, I just became a mentor. We’ve just started a programme in Cambridge where local professionals are paired up with students, who meet once a month to mentor. I have two students to mentor, and while writing up my experiences here would be interesting, it would not be right for me to do so.

What I can say, though, is that as a mentor, I am reflecting back on who I am and what I can give. It feels like just yesterday that I was a completely anxious teen with self doubt issues, so helping someone who may be in the same situation is actually quite good for me.

I mentor because I remember what it was like to be a teenager, when the road ahead of me looked so foggy, but I made it through and I can help guide today’s teenagers to get to where they want to be. Although my bosses aren’t strictly my mentors, I have people like them in my life because I know where I want to be, but I don’t know what I need to do or say or be in order to get there – so I follow their lead.

You don’t have to be greatly ambitious to need a mentor – being able to meet someone and discuss how to be a better or greater person is all it takes. You can find mentors through work, or maybe through networking, or maybe reaching out on somewhere like LinkedIn.

In return, I encourage you to look in your own community at opportunities to mentor someone younger or less experienced. Email your local university and see if they have any scheme like this. Or perhaps there’s an entry level new start in your company who needs a bit of help. You don’t need to be anything special, or be inspirational to be a mentor, you just need to be able to discuss your experiences and help the mentee see their own path.

I’d like to write up ways in which to be a good mentor in the future – but first, I should probably learn how to be a good mentor. In the meantime, if anyone out there has experience then please let me know! Some advice would be appreciated!

Comments

  1. Du wirst bestimmt ein guter Mentor. Ich finde es unmöglich, dass die Dame Dir nicht geantwortet hat.
    meyrose recently posted…2016: Gute Käufe – schlechte KäufeMy Profile

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