A big thank you for the response I have received through personal messages following my last article. I really appreciate your ideas, thoughts and interaction. I was not surprised by the number of people who expressed that they are confused by the word mentor, and a shift that may be occurring in the perception and marketing of mentoring.
In this article I want to explore want mentoring is further. Let’s cut through what we think we know, and look at some definitions. Now these definitions have been taken from a variety of sources. I have analyzed many definitions and examples to look for common themes in an effort to really understand the main differences so I can personally know when I need each type of professional in my business and how to work with them most effectively.
Mentoring can be defined as either an informal or formal process and is an important professional development tool. Mentoring is about a relationship between a mentor and a mentee.
Mentoring can be conducted in-situ, i.e. within an organisation; or can be provided by a mentor external to an organisation.
A mentor may be engaged in the same line of business as you, or they may be involved in a separate field altogether offering specialized knowledge and expertise.
A mentor provides counsel, insight, guidance and acts as a sounding boarding for ideas and decision that relate to the mentee.
A mentor can provide advice in professional development strategies, planning career goals, establishing contacts in the field of interest, provide feedback and exchange information and ideas.
The idea of a mentor is someone with qualities that appeal to the individuals’ sensibilities and professional objectives be they skills, expertise or shared vision.
The mentee is taken under the wing of the mentor and is facilitated to reach their goals and make networks.
For most Businesses of 1, solo business people and entrepreneurs, your choice of mentor is more than likely going to be someone outside of your organisation.
Simply put (I am a big fan of simplicity, so this dictionary definition is a favourite):
“A mentor is a trusted counsellor or guide.”
I asked my marketing mentor Amber McLean when she chooses to use a mentor, she replied:
“I invest in mentors when I want to learn what’s working in the market right now, and to fast track uncovering the answers I need to get the results I want.” www.ambermclean.com.au.
My experience has been to find a person who has done something that I want to do. I then model them, learn from them, and apply their “how to” to my own situation to develop my own skills, knowledge and understanding.
In my professional experience, specific mentors have helped me to achieve:
- New knowledge and skills to be able to work with client groups I had not had experience with previously
- Development people management skills and lead teams of allied health professionals
- Develop my clinical skills to embed a level of expertise in a specific clinical area I am really passionate about
- Learn how to think like a business owner and entrepreneur rather than an employee
- Learn how to market and sell business services to existing customers and find new customers
- Develop new services and products and how to take them to market.
In short to find a Mentor, is to find someone who has done what you want to do, and go learn what it is they did and how you can apply that to your business.
[contentbox width=”500″ borderwidth=”1″ borderstyle=”none” bordercolor=”000000″ dropshadow=”0″ backgroundcolor=”F5F5F5″ radius=”0″]Stay tuned for the next article in the series that will help us understand the difference between a mentor, coach and clinical supervisor.[/contentbox]
I LOVE feedback and interaction. So I welcome your insights, feedback and discussions on this topic. There are plenty of places you can connect with me or drop a note in the comments box below
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Have a great week