27 Jul What is your Mentor State of Affairs?
As the millennial generation expands into the workplace and as we begin to welcome Generation Z, mentorship is something that continuously evolves along with the business landscape. The basic concept remains the same, but there are some new and different ways that mentor relationships are forming and coming to life in the modern world. I find myself very intrigued with the concept and impact of mentorship in all of its different forms and plan to dive deeper into this in future posts, but first, let’s talk about your current mentor “state of affairs.”
Let’s start by reflecting on your current mentor-mentee relationships and explore different avenues for personal and professional growth and development.
Below are a few questions to ask yourself as you begin.
1. How diverse is my “career board of directors”?
A friend of mine recently shared that as she works with students in her role as Director of Career services within an MBA program, she asks them to review their current group of mentors as a “career board of directors.” She does this to shine light on the fact that while having a mentor in your career field or having someone with a similar personality to you may be beneficial, it’s important to consider diversity in building your mentor “circle of trust.” The is parallel to the need to have diversity of thought in any successful business. As you navigate your career and life choices, having differing perspectives and points of view are necessary. You want your mentors to challenge you to look at things differently and ensure a holistic view of any situation before making decisions that may have lasting impacts.
2. Do my mentors lives look like the life I desire for myself?
The best mentor relationships happen organically. And when discovering these mentors’ place in your life, it’s important to not just ask if this person has wisdom that can help guide you along your journey, but also if they have a life or lifestyle that you’d eventually like to attain. Any advice that a mentor provides to you will be influenced and shaped by their own personal experiences and decisions that have led them to their current life circumstance. If you don’t desire the life that a mentor has, it’s not to say that you can’t learn from him or her or that their advice is irrelevant, rather it’s important to ensure you are building the life you desire and taking this into consideration when seeking council. Moreover, you must realize the potential conflict that may arise if you make a decision after seeking council that is not in line with their thinking.
3. Have I outgrown any of my current mentor relationships?
Similar to the stages of growing a business, there are, and will be, different seasons in your lifetime. It’s important to recognize that while some mentor-mentee relationships will stand the test of time, others may be exactly what you need today, but ultimately not right for you 5 years from now. Too often we try to predict today what will make us happy 5-10 years from now without acknowledging the fact that we will very likely not be the same person in 5-10 years that we are today. There may come a point when you outgrow a mentor-mentee relationship, but that doesn’t mean you must sever all ties. If you find yourself at a strong disagreement with your mentor on a decision, perhaps it’s an opportunity for him or her to move into a coaching role and help you explore your ideas in new and different ways. Instead of offering advice, they can ask you the tough questions to help you discover and carve your own path. Of course, if this is not feasible, take care to know that it is completely okay to say goodbye to a mentor. They have helped you for a season, and you are incredibly thankful and grateful, but you have both outgrown the relationship and walk away better than where you began.
As you grow and develop, having strong mentors can have lasting positive impact on your life. Take some time today to review where you are and where you’d like to go. And, as always, share your thoughts with us! If you have questions or are uncertain of what to do next, we’d love to hear from you.