Tag Archives: mentorship

What to Expect From Your Mentorship

what_to_expect_mentorship_webSo, you have a mentor. Whether they’re a personal, business, or school mentor, you’re lucky to now be in a relationship that can help you grow and succeed in your professional and personal life.

Like all relationships, both sides have responsibilities. It’s important to remember that the mentor doesn’t do all the work – you have to put in your own level of effort and time too. Your mentor takes an active role in guiding and helping you, but you also have to let them know about what you want to learn, your challenges, your hopes, and more.

What To Expect From Your Mentor
Let’s talk about what a mentor actually does. A mentor will:

  • Offer encouragement and ongoing support
  • Listen to things that are worrying you and give constructive, unbiased support
  • Share stories and examples of their own failures and victories
  • Provide honest feedback and suggestions
  • Act as a sounding board for ideas and dreams
  • Help with making decisions by offering alternative views based on experience
  • Introduce you to contacts to further your personal and business development

So, that’s what a mentor does. Now, let’s take a look at what a mentor does not do. Your mentor will not:

  • Be your own private counselor or therapist
  • Give you specific business advice, like tax or legal help
  • Provide a free training course
  • Be responsible for the success of your business, schoolwork, etc.
  • Be expected to support you financially

What is Your Role in the Relationship?
Recently, we’ve talked a lot about mentors and how valuable they are. In this type of relationship, you have a role to play as well. So, what is expected from you as a mentee?

A mentee is expected to:

  • Be organized and proactive about asking for advice and sharing needs
  • Come prepared to meetings and arrive on time
  • Follow up with assignments or tasks related to the mentorship
  • Discuss how the mentor can challenge him or her to grow and develop strengths
  • Take constructive criticism in the spirit in which it is given
  • Demonstrate listening skills

Think of mentorships as a friendship. Mentors should genuinely care about how to help you reach your goals or be successful. In turn, your role as a mentee means you make an effort to appreciate the time and care your mentor gives to you.

What are some other responsibilities a mentee has to his or her mentor? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Be a Mentor at Any Age

be_a_mentor_at_any_age_webDid you ever have a teacher or a friend who – no matter what happened – believed in you and wanted you to succeed?

Did that person give you advice, encouragement, and guidance? Did you look up to that person and become better thanks to the attention they gave you?

If so, you are probably one of many people who had a mentor!

Mentors are invaluable, and many people have had one at some time in their life. The best part is that you’re never too young to be a mentor. High school students, middle-school students, college-aged youth, and young professionals can be a mentor to someone else.

What is a Mentor?
A mentor is usually someone older than the person being mentored, who takes a personal interest in the success and well-being of another. They not only share knowledge, skills, and experience, but also discuss new ideas and help the mentee work out solutions on their own and with guidance.

A mentor challenges, protects, offers support, shows patience, and is enthusiastic about helping their mentee grow and be successful.

While those qualities may seem a bit overwhelming, it’s important to know that anybody can be a mentor, no matter what the age. Even students still in high school can start mentoring by reaching out to someone younger. The mentor should ask questions about what is important to the mentee, and above all, should be a cheerleader for that person by boosting their confidence and leading them to success.

What Does a Mentor Do?
Some examples of what a mentor does include:

  • Provides the same type of help that you do in everyday life. If you naturally “help others,” you can use those same practices in a mentorship role.
  • Provides information and advice based on your own ideas, successes, and experience.
  • Encourages others to take positive risks and have a positive and healthy outlook.
  • Offers honest and constructive feedback.
  • Helps with planning or thinking through a problem or challenge.
  • Listens to the concerns, points of view, and dreams of the mentee.
  • Shares different views and ways of thinking.
  • Introduces that person to others who can help and advocate on their behalf.

Why Be a Mentor?
Being a mentor doesn’t just help the mentee. It is also a chance to look at yourself more closely and explore your own opportunities.

You have the chance to become more successful and confident as you instill those qualities in another person. You’ll also become more open to reaching out to your own mentors who can help you succeed in school, college, or your career.

By mentoring, you improve your personal and professional responsibilities as you learn, grow and become more accountable to others. As you model the professional and personal values that others admire, you will teach them how to live up to those values.

In terms of leadership, you can’t go wrong with becoming a mentor. Talk to your school’s counselor or company’s HR department about how to become a mentor. It’s a move that can help you – and someone else – succeed!

Have you ever been a mentor? Did you have someone special who helped you? Share your stories in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

5 Traits of a Great Mentor

5_traits_of_a_good_mentor_webThe concept of having a mentor to help you in your career and professional growth is nothing new. In fact, it’s common to hear of everyone from doctors and lawyers to teachers and entrepreneurs having a mentor. But, the mentorships of today may look different from what you anticipated or remembered.

A Huffington Post article defines mentoring as a “partnership where a ‘mentee’ is assigned to a more experienced ‘mentor’, who passes on valuable aspects of their own accumulated experience and wisdom for the benefit of the mentee’s personal and professional development.” However, as the same article explains, mentoring has evolved and often both individuals play the roles of mentor and mentee. For instance, now “mentors gain an understanding of the world view of another generation and equally, mentees can help senior colleagues to see new perspectives and shifts in societal behavior, for instance, the growing importance of social networks.”

So if you’re on a quest to find the right mentor, you need to sit up and pay attention. This shake-up in the roles and expectations associated with mentoring affects what you should look for in a mentor. Not only do you need to consider if someone will be a good mentor in the traditional sense, you also need to contemplate if the person will be a good “student.” To help you sift through your options, here are five traits that set a great mentor apart.

Listener
A mentoring relationship is based on communication, and the most important aspect of communication is listening. You want a mentor who understands the difference between hearing and listening – someone who strives to understand what you’re trying to say. This is crucial when you’re trying to describe a situation in order to get their input, as well as when you’re trying to explain a new concept, such as social media.

Young At Heart
There are some people who have always been old at heart, while there are others who will always be young at heart. When you’re looking for a mentor, find someone who is the latter. Certainly, if you’re helping your mentor understand the differences in work culture or between the generations, it will make your job easier. But, it will also help mentors relate to you and give better advice if they remember what it was like to be young.

Courageous
It takes a courageous person to open up and be honest at the level required for a truly successful mentorship. But even beyond that, you need to find a mentor who has had some major career failures and yet still had the courage to keep trying. The more mistakes someone has bounced back from, the more experience they’ll have to share and the more helpful they’ll be as a mentor. Plus, this will be the kind of mentor who isn’t afraid to ask questions and learn new things from you.

Teachable
If you want to get the most out of a mentoring relationship – with both of you giving and taking – you want a mentor who is teachable. While a know-it-all advisor might be helpful for a while, you’ll soon get tired of the attitude and start wishing for someone more open minded. This is something you really want to pinpoint because it ultimately goes back to expectations. Does your mentor just want to give you advice and tell you what to do? Or does your mentor want a reciprocal relationship so he or she can learn new things from you too?

Curious
Inquisitive people are generally successful people, which is exactly what you want in a mentor. You need someone who is curious about your life and wants to know how to help. A naturally curious person will encourage your own curiosity and push you to never stop learning. That need-to-know drive will also ensure the mentorship is a two-way relationship, with your mentor learning from you as well.

Mentoring is no longer the one-way street it once was. An article from Forbes echoes the same sentiment and explains that, “Effective mentorship relationships enrich both people.” So make sure you keep that in mind as you seek out a mentor. A great mentor will also make a great mentee.

Do you have a trusted mentor you go to for advice? What do you find valuable about that relationship? Share with us in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Being a Hobbit in a Middle Earth Sized Job Market

The Hobbit Job SearchAs you’ve probably heard a million times, the fantasy epic, “The Hobbit” was released in theaters this weekend. It’s kind of a big deal right now. In its opening weekend, the movie broke box office records for December with more than $84 million in ticket sales. If you’ve been secluded in your hobbit hole and are unfamiliar with the tale or the classic book the movie is based on, here’s a brief overview:

Young mild-mannered Bilbo Baggins enjoys living a quiet life in his secluded village until he’s recruited by the wizard Gandalf to join him with a group of dwarfs on a wild adventure to get back their stolen gold from an evil dragon.

Little Bilbo is just trying to make sense of this huge world he’s been thrust into. Doesn’t that feel like you when searching for a job? You – being a lone job seeker in a giant world of organizations, committees, hiring managers, and competition you have no control over – can feel a lot like Bilbo setting out on his first adventure. But, you don’t have to feel that way. You can be the hero of your own job search if you take some simple cues from “The Hobbit.”

Seek to be Unique
At first, taking Bilbo on a dangerous adventure seemed like a bad choice. He had no traveling, combat, or leadership experience with no apparent skills that he could provide the group. The dwarfs were properly equipped and trained for almost anything and had been working together for many years. However, the wizard Gandalf saw something in Bilbo that the dwarfs didn’t. The hobbit was small, swift, and stealthy – the exact opposite of the loud, fully-armored dwarfs. This talent helps Bilbo save the dwarfs from certain doom on many occasions throughout the story.

As a job seeker, you may not be the most experienced or have the most connections, but you do have a talent or skill that is better than the others. Focus on what you do best and find the employers who are looking for those skills. Being a jack of all trades but a master of none isn’t as impressive as a master of one talent that is in demand.

Mentor Locator
You can’t do everything on your own. Bilbo never would have started if he didn’t get guidance and counsel from the wizard Gandalf. The wizard recruited and promoted Bilbo to the skeptic dwarfs and gave him the encouragement needed to finish the adventure.

That is why mentors are valuable resources who can help you focus your job search, open doors of opportunity, and even help develop your career after you find work. Start sharpening your networking skills like you would an Elven sword and build relationships that will lead to mentorship.

Outgrown the Comfort Zone
What separated Bilbo from the other Hobbits was his desire for adventure. He never would have left his shire if he didn’t get the nudge from Gandalf. So, the first step in your journey to employment should be to step out of your comfort zone. Take small steps that may not immediately land you your next job, but can help you develop skills and connections that will. Start with activities like volunteering, interning, or applying at a staffing agency.

Your job search may not be as dangerous as a trek across Middle Earth to fight a dragon, but sometimes finding a job may feel just as scary. A little Hobbit named Bilbo took a chance and had an adventure of a lifetime. Will you take the same chances in your job search?