Mentoring and mentorship have long been a part of career growth. From entry level jobs through executive roles, mentorship was something that either happened naturally or was built into a job. In many of my roles, a mentorship either happened through connecting with someone or happened through a mentoring program (which was a little more formal). However, now it seems to be harder for newer professionals and leaders to find mentors, yet mentorship is still expected. According to the Deloitte Consulting (2016), Millennials expect mentorship to be a part of their career path. Like others, there is an understanding that in order to succeed career-wise, mentoring should be part of the process. There are things to learn about a job and an organization (office politics; decision-making structures; who throws the best parties; etc.) that can’t be learned through a company handbook. Plus, it’s just more welcoming to have a built-in support person as you advance in your career.
Aside from the at work mentor, it’s even better to have a mentor outside one’s career. Having one outside of work is even better (in my opinion) because honest conversations can be had without judgement or worry that the person will expose your thoughts to others in the company/institution. By having a more unbiased opinion, the mentor can advise on best practices, who to talk to when a request needs to be made, and how to handle challenging moments. But what can one do if a mentor, either at work or outside of work can’t be found? For many new professionals, this is often the case. It happened to me as well, but there’s hope.
Different Ways to get Mentored
- Books: There are books galore about so many topics: leadership, productivity, career planning, executive leadership, goal planning, emotional intelligence, etc. If face-to-face mentoring is not an option, then learning through books is your best bet.
- Videos and podcasts: Scroll YouTube or your favorite person’s website and you’re bound to find videos of their talks, workshops, or webinars. If they have a podcast, then that’s even better, as many of us are “on the go” and need audio only.
- Groups and Organizations: For those whoa re more social, clubs and professional organizations are a great way to gain the benefits of mentorship without actually being linked to one person. Instead, you get linked to a group of people and all of their connections.
As you advance in your career or consider advancing, look into ways to not only be mentored, but mentor others. Whether it’s once per month or a few times over the year, connecting with someone who can help you along the way (and you doing the same for someone else) can be helpful and, at times, comforting.
Keep leading and stay safe,