How mentors can help mentees be better professionals

How mentors can help mentees be better professionals

Mentorship involves interpersonal interactions between a mentor (a person with more experience) and a protégé (a person with less experience). The mentee or protégé sets career options and the mentor supports and helps navigate rough and smooth waters. 

I’ve often wondered where I would be in my career if I had no mentors. In fact, I did not always have a mentor. Roughly 17 years into my career, I realized that I should engage with a seasoned professional.  I wanted to arm myself with all the tools to maintain my career trajectory.  After soliciting support from the founder of a national women’s leadership organization, I received three executive leaders who were willing to serve as my mentors. Three. I was shocked and grateful at the same time. All three leaders dedicated time to my professional and personal growth. We met by phone monthly. The mentors assigned a challenge; I delivered on each task. I valued their time and they recognized and applauded my efforts.

Mentorship is one of the main propellers in my professional career growth, pay, and personal development.  With a 25-year career as a leader (and counting), I have always demonstrated willingness to serve as the mentor to fellow associates at work.  In 2018 - 2019, six associates requested my assistance after I spoke about the power of mentorship at an in-house speaking engagement.  The themes for their concerns encircled career challenges, inadequate salaries and how to improve self-esteem and job satisfaction.  Quickly, I realized that the role as mentor meant wearing two hats:  a) to guide mentees’ career and b) to provide psychosocial support.

As a mentor, it brings joy to encourage and witness an individual function as his or her highest, authentic self.  Through the interactions with mentees, I’ve remined each of the importance of maintaining one’s integrity while navigating difficult times in one’s career. One primary goal for the mentee is to make his or her own mark in the workplace despite challenging circumstances.  In short, a mentor can widen your perspective when assessing and addressing a problem.  Above all, the greatest fulfilment as mentor is observing the evolution of mentees who have aspired, achieved, and then become mentors to help others.

Mentorship requires work. Both parties need to bring a positive attitude.  Like a table, mentorship is balanced with four key pillars: trust, honesty, confidentiality and self-awareness.  Together, the mentor helps to sharpen the skills of a mentee, expand the protégé’s network, and help each protégé become a great achiever.

 

Don’t wait as long as I did, give mentoring a try today!

 

About the Author

Simone Arnold is a vice president of Global Network Strategy at Fiserv. She is also an alumna and contributor to the Center for Education and Information Technology Research  and the Center for Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Research at the University of Phoenix. She researches emotional intelligence, workplace diversity, and statistical procedures and applications for continuous performance development. She holds a Doctor of Management degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of Phoenix.

 

About the Author

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Simone Arnold
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