The word “mentor” has origins in Greek mythology. The legendary king and hero Odysseus had a close friend and advisor by the name of Mentor.
Today in business, an executive mentorship offers myriad benefits including fast tracking your career, gaining a global view of an organization or a profession, and possibly being taken along if your mentor moves on to a better opportunity.
There should be a clear understanding from the start of how to benefit from an executive mentorship and what to do with the knowledge you gain.
Find the Right Mentor
Your executive mentor is a prime source of support and unbiased advice when it comes to job opportunities, professional development, workplace politics, conflict resolution and much more.
- Find someone you look up to, admire and trust. Your mentor’s expertise attitude should be right for you, and ideally, their goals should be similar to yours. It could be someone in your own or a related field, or in an entirely new area if you are seeking a change.
- Consider a co-worker who has a good reputation and is interested in being a mentor. Find someone you want to emulate and who has an evident professional interest in you. It could be someone who works in your department or a department you might want to join. Sometimes an employee from outside your area can give more objective advice.
- If you choose someone from outside your company, you may gain an even greater perspective. Just be careful not to share any confidential or proprietary information. You may find a mentor at an alumni meeting or a trade association or networking event.
It’s a Two-Way Street
A mentoring relationship is based on mutual support. You will be more receptive of your mentor’s feedback if you take an active, participating role in the partnership.
- Take the initiative. Approach a would-be mentor in person. Stop by their office or ask them to coffee or lunch. Outline why you want to work with them and what you will bring to the table as a mentee. Ask how often they will be able to meet with you.
- Nurture your mentoring partnership. Never take it for granted. Be prepared to have informed conversations about career and business issues. Be candid so you can work toward valuable solutions. Remain open to constructive criticism. To keep the relationship active between meetings, send your mentor relevant articles or kudos on professional accomplishments.
- Be SMART about your goals. It is important to be completely honest with your mentor about every aspect of your career – your goals, aspirations, strengths and weaknesses. Use the SMART acronym as a guide for your goals: Make them specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time bound.
- Remain professional. Limit sharing details of your personal life. Maintain etiquette and respectful boundaries.
The executive recruiters at BrainWorks can counsel you on developing executive mentorships and other strategies to enhance your growing career. We offer exceptional, confidential career support in the consumer products, CRM, analytics, data science, big data, digital marketing and related fields. Contact us today to learn more about our executives search services.