Professional Mentoring is Mentoring between an experienced person, the Mentor, and a less experienced one, the Mentee, for the main purpose of developing the Mentee professionally in his or her chosen profession. This includes Mentoring for and from those in school for advanced degrees such as masters and doctorate in law, medicine, business, science and the arts.
This also includes those in school: for example a college senior looking for direction of selecting and applying to Med School would be helped by a current Med School student. A Mentor will be able to bring a more tested view of the business world, often several years working in an industry, learning all the features and intricacies that make it work.
Professional Mentoring spans all professions and industries, allowing you to find someone who fits your needs. Although the relationship is directed at helping the Mentee succeed in his/her career through goal setting and business enrichment from the Mentor, the learning often goes both ways. For example, a Mentor who has been a lawyer for 30 years and is an expert at litigation might not also be proficient at database or spreadsheet creation, something the Mentee may be able to help with.
It is important for both parties in a Mentoring relationship to have a clear understanding of what each feels would work best. Advance Mentoring creates the arena for Mentoring relationships to be made, but the decision is up to both parties how to interact. Some will feel that phone relationships are optimal: it isn't necessary for both parties to live in the same location as a Mentee can still get tremendous value from speaking with a senior leader in the same industry.
Some may want to meet in person while for others, phone calls or emails back and forth can serve the need. Whichever way the parties decide to operate, we advise that they should both be comfortable with the decision and time commitment.
Frequency of contact is important in the relationship to keep the learning process moving forward. Each new discussion with the Mentor should include updates from the Mentee on items the Mentor recommended in the previous talk. As the Mentee develops and refines his/her career, new issues and decisions will arise: which job to take, is getting an advanced degree wise, or is a sideways opportunity move helpful to move up the corporate ladder, are all important topics.
In a Mentoring relationship, working together to set the Mentee's goals can be pivotal. Not only should the Mentor/Mentee talk about current issues, they should also focus on short and long term goals.
Proper planning and execution of goals will lead to life-long success. Steps need to be discussed of how to accomplish the goals and tasks along the way that will require additional attention in reaching them. With the Mentor's increased experience he/she will be able to advise the best ways to succeed in that industry: invaluable help for a Mentee just starting out in a career or trying to become established in one.
Strengths, weaknesses, and skills of both parties can be be discussed. We encourage the Mentor/Mentee Team to work together to help both sides of the relationship develop professionally. Advance Mentoring is always available to help.
Advance Mentoring's goal is to provide Professional Mentoring opportunities for both Mentors and Mentees. The site is set up to allow for the best possible match when searching for a Mentor or Mentee by allowing one to search by industry, company, professional organization/charity affiliation, location, school, degree, and interest. We strive to create the best possible experience in creating lasting Mentoring relationships.
Being a Mentor
Being a Mentor is a very valuable experience. You will be able to share your industry knowledge and experiences to truly help someone grow in a career. Some people may think, “Why would anyone want to know what I do,” or “What do I know that somebody would be interested in learning.” However, by really looking at your experiences and background, you will see that it does matter to others.
One nurse I was talking to, who has had over 30 years of experience in the industry and is extremely skilled at her job was wondering what people would really want to know that she knew. Numerous people, either thinking about entering the nursing field or who are starting nursing would get real value from her advice. She could discuss the lifestyle, the different types of patients she has worked with, obstacles in her position, and exciting aspects of the job. After discussing this with her, showing her how much she actually knows about her job and her industry, she realized that she was knowledgeable and was excited at the idea of sharing her background with others as a Mentor.
As a Mentor, you will not only have the amazing feeling of contributing first hand to helping someone develop professionally, but also you will be able to gain skills yourself. Especially for younger Mentors, a relationship with a Mentee will also allow you to practice managerial skills and build professional networks in the business community.
Mentoring will give you practice in various tasks of management from goal setting to crisis management.
Networks are also important in a career and Mentoring someone gives you the opportunity to advance by taking advantage the resources these contacts have to offer.
Young professionals with even a year or two of experience can be very valuable to seniors in college and recent graduates, both looking for career advice. The young professional would be versed in topics as the transition to the working world, finding employment, and also give a firsthand look into the entry-level positions at their company and industry.
In today's work environment, finding and retaining quality workers is a focus of every company. When you have worked with a Mentee for several months or years, you will be able to get a feel for this person: their skills, abilities, and ambitions. As a Mentor you will do everything you can to help your Mentee advance. After getting to know your Mentee over a period of time, you may see his/her value in your own organization or the organization of one of your peers. Although not necessary, helping to place your Mentee in a more valuable position than he/she is currently in is rewarding and fulfilling.
Mentoring allows you to give back to the community and truly touch and help someone else with one of the most important things in his/her life: the career. Your guidance will be influential in helping that person succeed and grow, just as you have. Think back to any Mentor or person of significant influence in your life and how grateful you are to that person for helping to steer you the right way. Now is your chance to guide someone else's path.
Why Join as a Mentor
1. Giving Back: It is great to give back to one's neighborhood. This community service and volunteering really makes a difference in someone's life. You will be able to help and interact with others and make new friends.
2. Referrals from friends to join that are having great experiences. If your friends have had fun, rewarding, and enjoyable experiences, you should join too. If you are impressed with the service let your other friends know too.
3. Organization Connections: Find a Mentee who is affiliated with your Charity, Non-Profit, or Professional Organization.
4. Be Both: You can be both a Mentor and a Mentee. For example, someone two years out of college looking for a Mentor can also help someone just graduated.
5. School Connections: You can find someone from your undergraduate or graduate Alma Mater to Mentor. You can also search by major and degree earned.
6. Interests and Location: Your Mentee can live in your same city or can be across the country. It is up to you how you will interact.
7. Help Someone Succeed: Benefit society by truly helping someone succeed in a career or educational track: a path that you have already followed and thrived.
8. Learn about Another Company and Practice Management Skills: From acting as a Mentor, you will be able to gain a better understanding of the workings in another corporation and you will also be able to see the desires and ambitions of an individual at a career level probably similar to those of your staff. The relationship with the Mentee will also allow you to practice managerial skills as you set goals and guide your Mentee's career.
9. Network: Build professional networks in the business community by meeting your Mentee and his/her contacts as well.
10. Time: The time commitment to serve as a Mentor is minimal: maybe a few hours every month or every quarter. However, offering a portion of your limited time to help someone will have a tremendous impact on that Mentee's career: invaluable teachings that will shape the Mentee for the rest of his or her life.
Mentors: Dipping Your Toes in the Advance Mentoring Pool
Congratulations, you have taken the first step towards improving the lives of others as well as your own. Becoming a Mentor will change your life in ways you never thought possible. Not only will you enjoy the fulfillment of watching and playing a crucial role in your Mentee(s) development and growth, but you will also learn more about yourself as a person.
Whether it is the realization of leadership skills you never knew you had, or simply finding out that you really can make a difference, the impact of a Mentoring relationship in your life is undeniable. Aside from re-learning skills you may posses, your Mentee(s) may have a skill set that you do not, such as computer proficiency or new concepts in management, that he or she can pass on to you. The knowledge transfer that occurs in Mentoring goes both ways.
The real question is where to begin. As a Mentor, you will play a crucial role in your Mentee's development. If this is your first opportunity to act as a Mentor, check back periodically to our Resources page where we will be providing regular articles and links to advise you along the way and make you a better Mentor. If you have acted as a Mentor previously, you will notice that with the Advance Mentoring system, communicating with and finding your Mentee is easier than ever.
The first step is registering online with Advance Mentoring. The registration process is simple and free. Quickly fill out your desired username, password, and brief personal information and you are ready to begin.
After completing the registration process, log in to your account and click on the “My Information” button at the top. Make sure to fill in as much information as possible and please only list information which is accurate. The concept behind Advance Mentoring is to provide potential Mentees with as much information as possible about their prospective Mentors before any communication is established. The service is established this way to increase efficiency as well as increase the probability of establishing a good synergy between the relationship of the Mentee and Mentor. Compatibility is paramount in Mentoring. Relationships are much more productive if the two members are similar in mindset. It is better to provide too much information about yourself than too little.
After the text fields have been completed, click on “Save Profile” at the bottom of the page. This will place your profile into our database and you are ready to begin receiving messages from possible Mentees. All messages will be delivered to your Advance Mentoring message inbox via an internal messaging system. So, there will be no possible spam messages or junk mail cluttering up your own personal email accounts.
When you have saved your profile into the database, browse the Advance Mentoring website. Once selected by Advance Mentoring as a Mentor, you may search for Mentees who have registered. You can contact Mentees through Advance Mentoring for a possible Mentor/Mentee relationship. Mentoring is a two-way street. Both the Mentee and Mentor need to give everything towards helping one another reach their goals. The most important factor in attaining this necessary synergy is compatibility between the Mentee and Mentor. Do not think that as a Mentor, you should wait for your Mentee to contact you. Be active in your selection process and seek out the potential Mentees who you feel could benefit the most from your input and experience.
After you have saved your Profile into our database and if you are able, post a video profile of yourself telling your own story. Reading text on a page is one thing, but a video of yourself telling your own story will say so much more about who you are to potential Mentees and other Mentors. The concept of a video profile is a feature we feel very strongly for at Advance Mentoring. We feel that video profiles can be crucial in determining that sought-after “perfect fit” between you and your potential Mentees.
From all of us at Advance Mentoring, good luck and best wishes as you begin the exciting and fulfilling experience of being a Mentor.
Why do I want to be a Mentor?
Whether you are someone who loves to be in control of every aspect of your life or a sympathetic soul who thrives on helping people (you could be both), Mentoring is for you. Unless you are retired and have “free” time, you may feel that "I don't have time for Mentoring.” That is like saying you don't have time for your career. While it is widely accepted that Mentoring usually has enormous positive benefits on a Mentee's career, it is rarely thought of as a career benefit for the Mentor.
This is a Mistake, as the Mentor can benefit from the Mentoring in many ways including:
* A favorable impression within a company if the both participants are from the same company.
* An understanding of a culture of a new company and industry if the participants are from different companies and/or different industries.
* Learning new ideas and facts to better understand and manage people similar to the Mentee that may report to the Mentor.
* Using the Mentee as a conduit to other people. While the Mentor may be a senior executive in a company, the Mentee may personally know other senior executives in other companies that the Mentor would like to source (especially in the Mentee's company if it is different than the Mentor's).
* Seeing the results of Mentor/Mentee collaboration (especially within the same company) is often a way to modify future decisions.
* A Mentor may even find a Mentee that would be an excellent choice for a new job opening in his or her company.
The Mentor is always in control and can set the time structure (amount, when, and how) that there is interaction between the Mentor and Mentee.
Of course, there are numerous emotional benefits to helping a Mentee succeed-especially when the Mentor's advice is followed and the Mentee obtains good outcomes as a result.
A Mentor can restrict his Mentoring to distinct groups of interest to him or her (e.g. only people within their own company or alumni of the university of their choice.).
Overall, there are few things in life that offer the benefits of being a Mentor without any real downside.
The real question is: why would you not want to be a Mentor?
General Mentor Questions and Answers
Q. I have 5 years experience selling business software to Banks and Securities firms. I have exceeded my quota every year and have been the top salesperson 4 out of my 5 years. My immediate goal is to become a sales manager, what is the best path to do this?
Every company is different in this regard, depending on its culture, its size, etc. However, at any company, your achievements make you a valuable employee and one to be kept as happy as possible. While it's not always clear that an outstanding salesperson will make an outstanding manager, you have earned a chance to manage.
There are at least several possibilities here.
Within the organization you should find out what sales areas are under-performing and see if you can combine your area with one or more under-performing areas as “player/coach”(you continue to sell and manage your own territory for a brief period, while also supervising the under-performing area). As sales in all your areas begin to out-perform (with no added expense to the company), you should be able to become a fulltime manager and hire a replacement in your area.
A variant of the above is that your manager or a higher executive may choose to restructure the selling process based on your request and promote you immediately to a managerial role.
You may have to move to a smaller company within your industry and be hired as a manager based on your excellent selling reputation and customer contacts. However, (1) or (2) are more likely and better scenarios.
Q. I am currently working as a cost accountant for a $500MM manufacturer of medical devices. My manager is Ok (and I have received excellent reviews each of the three years I have worked here), but not a dynamo like his manager (the Controller). What is the best way for me to get noticed by the Controller and /or get a Promotion?
Unless the dynamo Controller is vastly overworked (which is possible), he should have read your reviews and know the fine work you are doing. Additionally, without alienating your current boss, you should make some important contributions you were responsible for during the year known to the Controller.
You should also always be proactive in suggesting new ways to do things better. These should always go first to your boss, but should reach the Controller as being authored by you. Getting noticed is often more than doing what is asked of you well, it is also doing good things not asked of you that add to your value.
Mentees: Starting Your Search
Making Mentoring work is not just about finding a Mentor with a certain position or status. There has to be synergy and compatibility. This is the most important point to remember when searching. Always look for similarities between you and your potential Mentor. You don't even have to live in the same city to have a worthwhile Mentoring relationship.
First, make a list of your answers to the following questions:
* What do you enjoy doing?
* What are your strengths?
* What are your weaknesses?
* In the greater scheme of things, where do you see yourself professionally right now and where would you like to be in the future?
* Who are your heroes or people you would like to emulate and why?
* How do you think Mentoring will help you get there?
* What kind of skills would your ideal Mentor have?
At the bottom of this list, write down one area or skill you would like to improve upon. Wanting to improve work skills is perfectly within your power. With Advance Mentoring, the power is in your hands. You may want to build upon the skills you already have so you can get that promotion, such as leadership skills. Or maybe you just to make a day at work easier by learning better organization skills. How you want to improve your skills, you career level, you life, is entirely up to you. Work skills, however, include public speaking, Internet research, or leadership.
Now that you have finished your list and you are ready to begin your search, think about the following: Mentoring is a commitment by both parties to help one another in whichever way they can. If you expect your Mentor to make a commitment in assisting you, you must make a commitment to listening to what he or she may have to say and to be active in the relationship. You reap what you sow. If you the Mentee are active in the relationship, then your Mentor will follow suit.
Mentors volunteer their time in already busy schedules to help you achieve your goals. So, if you are going to enter into a Mentoring relationship, take it seriously and know what is expected of you as a Mentee.
After all of this the search can finally begin.
Advance Mentoring was started to help people connect in Mentoring relationships in the most efficient, productive, and open way possible. Our friends were having all of these great experiences and learning so much from their Mentors and that is when we asked ourselves, “Why can't I have a great Mentor too?” But in starting Advance Mentoring, we also did not want to just give a database of names and numbers.
The beauty behind the Advance Mentoring system is that it improves upon the old way of searching through networks for referrals trying to find the right fit on limited information. The system provides not just a few points above where a person has worked in the past or where he or she lives now. It is designed so that you the Mentee can have all of the information on your prospective Mentor needed to make the best decision.
The system also takes this one step further. With the Mentor video profiles, you can actually see and hear your prospective Mentor tell his or her biography, instead of just reading text on a page.
Mentoring is all about compatibility. Do not settle on sacrificing the little things just so you can have a Mentor ASAP. Wait until you find the right person and you will find that it was well worth the wait.
Why Join as a Mentee
1. Focus Your Career Path and Set Goals: What better way to define your career path then by talking with an experienced Mentor that has been through all that before? Setting goals and a career direction is important. Refer back to them often to make sure you have been taking steps to accomplish them.
2. Referrals from friends to join that are having great experiences. If your friends have had fun, rewarding, and enjoyable experiences, you should join too. If you are impressed with the service let your other friends know too.
3. Organization Connections: Find a Mentor who is affiliated with your Charity, Non-Profit, or Professional Organization.
4. Be Both: You can be both a Mentor and a Mentee. For example, someone two years out of college looking for a Mentor can also prove very influential as a Mentor for someone just graduated.
5. School Connections: You can find someone from your Alma Mater from undergrad or an advanced degree. You can also search by major and degree earned.
6. Interests and Location: Your Mentee can live in your same city or can be across the country. It is up to you how you will interact; i.e. coffee, dinners, phone, or email. Your might also connect you're your Mentee if you share similar activities, hobbies, or interests.
7. Making Big Decisions and Crisis Management: You Mentor will have successes and failures, just like everyone, but talking to your Mentor can help you make more informed decisions on your path to success.
8. Learn about Another Company or Industry: Working with a Mentor will allow you to gain a better understanding of the workings in another corporation. With this knowledge and you are impressed with your Mentor's company, you may even consider employment there. Also, for those looking to switch careers or industries it is critical to speak with a Mentor from that field to get you up to speed and help you get your new career on track.
9. Network: Build professional networks in the business community by meeting your Mentor and his/her contacts as well.
10. Time: The time you spend with your Mentor will most likely be few hours ever month, which is definitely manageable in our busy schedules. However, although short, the time you do spend together will be invaluable in shaping your career. An experienced Mentor in your industry will be able to quickly guide you in mapping out the steps you must take to succeed.
General Mentee Questions and Answers
I am smart and self sufficient-why do I need a Mentor?
No person “needs” a Mentor, but everyone “needs” good luck to be successful.
You can vastly improve your “good luck” by pairing with a Mentor. Being at the right place at the right time (good luck) is partly a function of who helps you along the way. But if you do the wrong thing at the right time, then you have missed the opportunity and wasted some of your scarce resource known as good luck. A Mentor can prevent missed opportunities.
Mentors can not only help you plan for events in your career that have not yet happened, and may not happen for several years, but also offer critical advice to help you make decisions on things that need to be done now.
A Professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Business often told his classes that the key to succeeding in an organization was getting your name known as widely as possible and as high up the management ladder as possible.
A good Mentor can offer you sound ways for accomplishing this-particularly if Mentor and Mentee are in the same organization.
So you may not “need” a Mentor, but if you want to be successful, you should have one.
Q. I am a senior customer service representative with 3 years experience. I would like to change careers and become a salesperson. How can I best approach this?
You should talk to your HR representative first and see what he/she thinks is the best way for you. However, if your company has no separate HR function or it is traditionally not effective in employee counseling, then approach your boss for advice. Do not go first to the head of sales before your boss is made aware of your intentions.
In all cases, have a strong presentation ready as to why you would make an excellent sales representative (for example: your skillful knowledge of the products/services, your good customer testimonials, and, most importantly, your proven ability as the number one CS representative in terms of saving and upgrading existing customers to higher price products).