How to Succeed with a Modern Day Mentorship
Mentorship is the stuff of Hollywood movies, where a grizzled veteran naturally takes an eager newcomer under a wing. But in the real workplace, mentorship doesn’t happen by accident. It takes deliberate planning.
The United Nations has designated each August 12th as International Youth Day to draw attention to the issues surrounding young people. For many in the next generation, mentorship is key to gaining a foothold for their career and life. In light of the upcoming designated day, here are ways that young employees can get ahead by strategically thinking about mentorship.
Engage in a matching program
Where do you start? For many, a university alma mater, your current workplace or a professional organization will help match a young person with a mentor that aligns with their interests, needs and personality. A beneficial mentor isn’t simply someone who is more experienced – it’s someone with the right experience. Get help from groups to find the right match before diving in blindly.
Make the outcomes measurable
Once a match is made, each side should decide on outcomes. Of course, not every interaction needs to tied to a metric. But it helps all parties to have a measurable goal in mind for the mentorship, such as helping secure a new job, learn a specific skill or make a certain number of introductions. At the end of the time period, the measurement standards can be assessed to show what helped, and what adjustments can be made to future goals.
Consider multiple mentors
After testing the waters with one mentor, you may find that more mentorship help is required than one person’s limited experience can offer. Have a conversation with your mentor about opening the door to more input, such as a personal board of directors. Consider how multiple mentors can provide different perspectives, new connections, specific skill sets or expertise in an area that you lack.
Sometimes, mentorship is not enough. Sponsorship is a critical factor in helping talented, motivated individuals advance in the business world. Women in particular tend to be over-mentored and under-sponsored, as ManpowerGroup research shows. Beyond mentoring, it’s important to find influential individuals who can help others gets ahead.
In summary, mentorship needs to be a thought-out activity to help younger employees grow and advance. With the right planning, the arrangement can be beneficial to all.