Interview: Mentee, Kathy Smith and Mentor, Michelle Nicely
When talking to aspiring women about reaching those elusive leadership positions, the advice is to ‘get a mentor.’ It's good advice. Mentoring relationships have been shown to provide a wealth of benefits, including greater career success and advancement, access to (what would otherwise be exclusive) networks, and enhanced self-esteem and confidence.
What exactly is mentoring? Who does it help and how do you become a mentor/mentee?
The term ‘mentoring’ is often used interchangeably with other relationships in the workplace designed to assist people in their career development. While some of the functions may indeed overlap, mentoring is a longer-term, development-focused relationship that influences professional and personal growth. It is advised that mentors should reside outside a mentee’s line management structure to allow mentees to speak freely about their professional challenges and career plans.
If you thoroughly study the trajectories of successful individuals, you'll learn that most of them have had considerable help in the process. Although we earn our rewards and opportunities on our own merit, it's our mentors who help us to accelerate, to confront challenges with greater confidence and to become better decision makers.
Despite career level, tenure and level of intelligence, we don't always know the answers on our own. A mentor can help rationalize the things we have trouble making sense of. They can help us think through all the ramifications of a situation to be able to make wiser business decisions. Most importantly, they can help us validate our thoughts and opinions to build upon.
Other strong qualities of a mentor include one's willingness to share knowledge and expertise, the ability to listen, evaluate and provide recommendations, and the enthusiasm to help others learn and grow.
And if you choose a mentor, you can be certain that your mentor has a mentor, too! ;-)
PWH offers a wonderful mentoring program that has allowed a number of women to build strong and valuable relationships that have also led to growth and success within their own careers.Visit mypwh.org, click on mentoring and follow the steps to become a mentor or mentee.