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New Business Mentoring eBooks!

  
  
  
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We have seven new mentoring eBooks, hot off the virtual presses. You can learn more about our eBooks by checking out our latest newsletter or by visiting our eBooks products page.

  • Business Mentoring: Communication Styles Instrument
  • Business Mentoring: Communication Styles Instrument AND Guide for Program Managers
  • Group Mentoring: Facilitation Styles Instrument
  • Group Mentoring: Mentoree Role Preferences
  • How to Find a Mentor
  • Mentor Readiness Instrument
  • Mentoree Readiness Instrument
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Common Mistakes Made By New Mentorees in a Mentoring Relationship

  
  
  

business mentoring relationshipHaving a mentor is one of the most important relationships you can have in your career.  Once a mentoring relationship has been established, you will grow, not only in specific areas you've identified, but also in ways unexpected and long after your relationship may have ended. To increase your chances of having a successful experience, avoid these common errors mentorees often make in their initial meetings with their mentor.

You lack focus on what you want to work on in your mentoring relationship

Since a mentoring relationship is focused on you, the mentor can't be the one to determine what you need.  It's your career, so come prepared with specific ideas on why you need a mentor.  Don't just say you want to develop leadership or management skills. Instead, specify the skill you want to develop:  i.e., how to deal with difficult personalities/employees, how to read financial data and interpret how that impacts my department, etc. This gives your mentor information to ask questions to fine-tune how they can be helpful. 

You expect your mentor to provide you with the map

Although mentors are wise and experienced, they don't necessarily have the answers or the complete path you should follow.  Even if the path you want to follow is similar to theirs, what worked for them may not necessarily work for you. Instead, look at your mentor as a facilitator who will share the responsibility with you to help you find the correct path for you while maintaining your own uniqueness. This means they will ask questions, listen to your challenges, provide possible thoughts on how to resolve issues and proceed. Ultimately, though, your mentor will support the decisions you make as opposed to your taking their advice in every situation.

You expect your mentor to manage the relationship

In deference to your mentor's experience and wisdom, you may believe that it is your mentor who will actually control this relationship. Not true. You are the one who drives this relationship. How?  By sharing your goals, your aspirations, your challenges, your successes, your doubts, etc.  This means sharing the real issues that impact your success.

A mentors’ role is to respond to issues in ways that help guide and challenge you beyond what you think you can accomplish. Tweet this! 

The areas in which you want to go and the pace you want to follow in that growth rests with you.  A mentor cannot make you do what you don't want to do. You are always the one in control of your own destiny, even in mentoring.

 

For more information on how to prepare for your mentoring relationship, check out our latest eBook Mentoring Readiness: Instrument for Mentorees:

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It's the beginning of our mentoring relationship. What should we do?

  
  
  

Like every relationship, those involved in mentoring will find themselves going through various stages as they work together. It is useful to be aware of this dynamic so as to better understand what is happening in your relationship.

Beginning the Relationshipmentoring relationship

In some ways, this is the most critical stage because both parties define their relationship and set the ground rules. If this is done successfully, the relationship will develop well. If not done successfully, it will lead to frustration, false starts and both partners may find that the mentoring relationship never really materialized.

It is also an awkward time for the partners unless you have both known each other prior to engaging in the mentoring experience. Since this may be the first time you actually work together, you both may feel a little tentative at first until you get to know each other better and build a level of comfort and trust. Even if you have known each other, however, you still need to begin at this stage as this relationship will be different from the one you have now.

 

What to expect when beginning a mentoring relationship

You begin to learn about each other in more personal and detailed ways.

  • You define what your expectations are of each other.
  • You start establishing a climate of trust and confidentiality.
  • You identify the learning goals that you want to accomplish through this relationship.
  • You define the parameters and boundaries of your relationship. For example, is office politics a taboo subject?

The Mentor

Wants to be of assistance and is seeking guidance from the mentoree on these areas.

  • Wants to know what the mentoree’s expectations are, if they are realistic and whether or not s/he can fulfill them.
  • Has concerns about the investment of time and resources s/he will have to devote and whether s/he can meet the challenge.
  • Has concerns about how to provide feedback in a way that will be useful to and accepted by the mentoree.

The Mentoree

Wants to appear competent and someone worthy of the valuable time and energy to be invested by the mentor.

  • Is concerned about being vulnerable, i.e., will this be a safe environment? Can I trust this person?
  • Wants to know what the mentor’s expectations are of him/her?
  • Wonders if the mentor will allow the mentoree to be independent by allowing the mentoree to apply what is offered as s/he thinks best.

 

This post is an excerpt from our new eBook, How To Find A Business Mentor. Learn more by clicking the button below:

how to find a business mentor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Business Mentoring: Are You Ready to Mentor?

  
  
  

business mentoringMentoring is the generous giving of a person's time, knowledge and support to a mentoree.  Many of us volunteer to mentor or, if asked, are ready to answer, "yes.”  It is this generosity that makes mentoring a powerful experience for mentorees.  But being asked to serve and being willing to serve doesn't necessarily mean that you are ready to serve.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself in assessing if you're ready to mentor:

Q: How easy is it for you to sit with someone and listen to their challenges without taking control of the situation? 

One of the key skills a mentor needs to have is to be able to refrain from managing the mentoree. It is critical to empower the mentoree to think for themselves and make decisions that are best for him/her. The temptation to resolve an issue quickly by providing too much advice or performing the task of solving the problem instead of letting the mentoree do so is ever present in mentoring. What can be helpful in avoiding this temptation is for a mentor to think of him/herself as "facilitating the development of the mentoree.”  If you facilitate, you partner with the other person, and thus avoid controlling the relationship.

Q: How easy is it for you to share some of your mistakes with others to assist them in avoiding the same mistakes? 

A mentoring relationship develops trust between both partners. This element of trust allows for a mutual dialogue based upon honesty and respect. One of the ways to build trust quickly is to be willing to share the mistakes that a mentor has made over time and what lessons they learned as a result. When being vulnerable in this way, it lets the mentoree know that you trust them with this information and opens the door for them to do the same. Without this kind of sharing, the relationship may remain more polite and professional but without the depth possible in creating a true mentoring relationship.

Q: In general conversations, how often are you the listener instead of the talker? 

Listening is one of the most important skills a mentor should have. Having good listening skills provides several advantages: 

(1) It allows the mentoree to do most of the talking and the person doing most of the talking is doing most of the work.

(2) It allows you to avoid the temptation to take control of the relationship.

(3) It allows the mentoree to be responsible for arriving at the solutions that will work best for them. 

 

business mentoringIf you're going to mentor, review your most recent conversations with others and assess whether you have a pattern for speaking more often than not. It will be important to know this and to make a conscious effort to listen more if you are going to be a mentor. 

 

These questions and more are part of our new eBook: Mentoring Readiness: Instrument for Mentors. If you are interested in learning more, click the image to the right. You will be directed to Management Mentors' ebook page on Amazon. Be sure to scroll down to find this eBook.

 

 

 

 

 

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Why you should have a mentor during each critical phase in your career

  
  
  
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It is important to consider having a mentor at each critical phase of your career. Here's why:

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1.  In college:

By your Junior Year, you should have identified someone who can assist you in gaining a realistic assessment of the job market and who can provide support to you as you enter that market. For those truly ambitious individuals among you, having a mentor in high school is a good idea as well.

2.  Upward and lateral career movement:

If you want to continue to grow with the benefit of someone else’s experience and knowledge and to avoid career mistakes and enhance your learning, identify someone early on who, as your mentor, will guide you and support you in charting a career path.

3.  Changing careers:

In pursuing a change in your career, a mentor is invaluable in assisting you in exploring
other options and possibly opening doors to you that would otherwise be difficult or impos-
sible.

4.  Changing companies:

You can choose to move from one company to the next on the basis of higher pay or better career opportunities.  But a mentor can assist you in focusing your job movements from a strategic standpoint by working with you on developing an effective job search that fits into your ultimate goals rather than simply “looking for the next job”.

5.  Feeling “stuck” in your current job:

This happens to all of us at some point.  A mentor can serve as the catalyst who helps move us from a feeling of being hopelessly stagnant to one of exploration and empowerment and opens the doors that allow us to discover what it is we really want to accomplish and how to achieve it. 

6.  Being “deselected”:

In plain English, you’ve been laid off or fired.  Although it is more difficult to locate a mentor at this point since s/he may have some misgivings about your current non-employed status, it does not mean you should overlook the value of a mentor. A valued mentor can pick us up after recovering from the shock of being “deselected” and remind us of our self-worth while serving as a much needed cheerleader as we seek to move ahead to a new opportunity.

 

As you can see, no matter where you are in your career,  NOW is the right time to consider finding a mentor and establishing a mentoring relationship. Potential mentors are all around you. If you don't know how to find a mentor, check out our latest eBook:

 

find a business mentor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Changing Career Paths? Mentoring Can Help.

  
  
  

Mentoring is an important survival tool for anyone changing career paths.

There are significant business trends that are making mentoring an important survival tool for anyone seeking to maintain a career within a fast paced and changing business climate. One example is changing career patterns.

Once upon a time...

how to find a business mentor

“Once upon a time ...” is how we might describe what used to be the traditional career development process.  You:

  • went to college
  • got your first job
  • worked there for 2-3 years to gain experience
  • eventually moved on to increasingly responsible positions
  • finally settled on one major company that gave you “golden handcuffs” until you retired or got fired

In the event that you were “downsized” or “deselected”, you might be given the services of an outplacement firm that would work with you until you either found your next job or the contract ran out.  If you were in your late 40’s or older, you had a particularly difficult time, despite age discrimination laws, in locating your next opportunity.  It was likely that you would have to start at a lower position with subsequent lesser salary.  Then you began the process all over again. 

This pattern started to change dramatically at the end of the ‘80’s boom. White collar workers were the hardest hit as jobs got squeezed out and many became unemployed.  This “squeezing” of the middle layer in corporations changed the career ladder, moving it from vertical to horizontal.  People caught in this squeeze needed to look at comparable jobs in a linear way as fewer and fewer jobs existed. 

The standard now is not upward career mobility but career flexibility and adaptability.

Expertise is what commands attention and leads to career advancement and financial suc-
cess.  

People are moving away from viewing themselves as a “resume” and more as a package of skills and competencies available within the employment marketplace. 

Although this change may be traumatic for a lot of us, it does promise to give us a more exciting and, potentially, more satisfying career.  We will become multi-employed in the future either by having multiple employers in the course of our career(s) or in being employed by several employers at one time as we parcel out our expertise to each organization on an “as needed” basis.

The changing workplace will also change our venue of work. With technology, more employees will work from their homes and go infrequently to the office.  An affordable home office including computer, modem, fax machine, videoconferencing, E-mail, copier, etc., is available to all of us, allowing us to link globally without leaving the comfort of our homes. 

What can you do for me today?

If “once upon a time” describes the career path of yesterday, “What can you do for me today” could be the mantra of those navigating the new career path.  Control of your career, now more than ever before, rests in your own hands. Strategic thinking about what school to select, what companies to pursue and what kind of work environment within which to work will provide the most fertile ground for your career growth. 

Being current in your expertise and thinking strategically allow you to market yourself
from a position of real strength to those companies (let’s call them clients) which have the
most to offer. Once employed by that company, it will be critical for you to continue to demonstrate your value through research and by linking yourself with influential people who can give you valuable guidance in finding new ways to demonstrate your worth to the organization. 
 

The need to remain current and on the “cutting edge” by developing key competencies can be greatly assisted by having one or more mentoring relationships.

Having access to someone who has expertise and experience in navigating a career path and who can encourage and support your professional growth is a critical tool in becoming more successful.  A mentor won’t solve all your problems or provide you with all the answers, but s/he can smooth the transition, provide you with valuable insight and support you in taking risks with fewer negative consequences. 

There are countless selfless individuals who are willing to be asked to be a mentor and who have a wealth of information and expertise to share.  Why not tap into this vast and valuable resource rather than tackling every issue on your own, resulting in a lot of false starts, lost opportunities, and a frustrated career path?  

 

If you're not sure How to Find a Business Mentor, check out our latest eBook.

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Graduating college? Entering workforce? Find a mentor. It can help.

  
  
  

mentoring trainingWhat if this happened to you?

You’re about to graduate from college and looking forward to your first career opportunity. You’re excited about finally getting the opportunity to put your years of education into practice. Unfortunately, your enthusiasm is not shared by prospective employers who view you and the hundred other applicants like you as all being the same:  you all have a degree but no experience. How valuable can you be?  You use the services of the college Placement Office but you’re just one of the many in line looking desperately for assistance in finding that first job.  Your resume looks like everyone else’s and the advice given to you at the Placement Office is given to every other graduate because you’re all in the same boat.

Welcome to your first lesson in career development in the School of Hard Knocks. Maybe you should have gone to MentoringUniversity?

Had you gone to Mentoring University, you probably wouldn’t have time to wait in line at the college Placement Office.  Besides, you got your resume done a long time ago because you and your mentor have been discussing this moment in your career for quite some time.  When you were interested in pursuing a degree in finance, you were smart enough to ask friends and relatives for names of people with whom you could network in your chosen field.  After a few detours, you finally found your mentor who took an eager interest in assisting you in preparing for this moment.

Throughout your academic career, your mentor has discussed various “real life” issues giving you valuable information and ideas to draw upon. Your mentor has even arranged for you to have a summer internship providing you with valuable experience for inclusion on your resume. Although your mentor does not have an opportunity for you at her company, she has put you in contact with colleagues and opening doors which have good potential.  Regardless of what happens, you know you’ll eventually secure a more meaningful job than many of your fellow students.  Aren’t you glad you thought of Mentor University early on? 

 

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Business mentoring: are you ready to be mentored?

  
  
  

business mentorAlmost everyone thinks that they can use a mentor at some point in their career.  Although this may be true, are you ready to be mentored?  Being a mentoree means putting in the commitment necessary toward establishing and maintaining a mentoring relationship and also having some sense of focus in terms of what areas you want to develop both professionally and personally.

Here are a few questions you may want to ponder in assessing whether you're ready to be mentored:

Q: How often do you seek out challenges that may be risky but that will help you grow? 

Being willing to take risks is a necessary component when being mentored.  Your mentor should be assisting you to grow in ways that may be scary at first, but you have to be willing to make the effort in order to grow.

Q: How easy it is for you to set goals for yourself either in your professional or in your personal life?  

When approaching someone to be your mentor or having a mentor assigned to you through a mentoring program at work, you need to come to the table with some vision of what you wish to accomplish. It's ok if it's not thoroughly thought out—as a mentor can assist in helping you to focus—but there should be a starting point that you bring to the table as a basis for a conversation. It is not your mentor's responsibility to figure out how you should develop.  That responsibility remains with you.

Q: How often do you complete assigned tasks on time? 

We are all bombarded with tasks, deadlines, and interruptions on a daily basis.  We can easily let some things slip or defer to a later date. This can have an impact on mentoring when we don't complete agreed upon activities or cancel sessions frequently. We have a tendency to do this because we expect our mentors to "understand" and to be accommodating. This is a mistake! You have to bring a real commitment to being mentored and this is shown by completing the work to be done and by meeting on a regular basis as agreed. 

business mentoring relationship

 

 

 

These questions and more are part of our new eBook Mentoring Readiness: Instrument for Mentorees. If you are interested in learning more, click the image to the right and you will be brought to our eBook page on Amazon. The Mentoring Readiness eBook is at the bottom of the page, so be sure to scroll down. 

 

 

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MILLENNIALS & MENTORING: Communicating or Relating?

  
  
  
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Millenials are defined as those born between 1980 and 2000 who are coming of age in the new century. Pew Research says they are the most racially and ethnically diverse group in our nation's history as well as being the most politically progressive.

mentoring millennials

However, it's a fact that millennials view Tweeting, texting, Facebook'ing, etc. not as innovations but as part of everyday life that has the most impact for mentoring.

mentoring millennials

At Management Mentors, we have always maintained that mentoring is about having a quality relationship with a more experienced person who facilitates the development of the mentoree.  It is this component that is being challenged the most by advanced technology.

Here it is probably important to make a distinction between communicating and relating.

Clearly, Facebook, Twitter and other technologies and social networking sites allow people to communicate more quickly and more often, the danger is that communication gets mistaken for relating that takes place in a mentoring relationship.  For mentoring to succeed, there must be time spent in building trust—getting to know the other person both personally and professionally in order to establish the goals of the relationship and create an effective and meaningful mentoring experience.

The Challenges:

  • The challenge for millenials is to focus so much on communicating through technology and mistaking this for mentoring.  
  • The challenge for non-millenial mentors is to make the case to the mentoree that quality of time spent face-to-face or via phone is far superior to the other technologies. 

mentoring millennials

 

This is not to say that these other technologies don't have value for mentoring—they do! But they should be used as secondary tools to share knowledge in preparation for a mentoring session or as follow-up after such sessions.  

So enjoy texting, Tweeting and all those others methods of communicating. But when it comes to mentoring, it's best done the old fashioned way—meeting and spending quality time together.

For additional tips on how to mentor millennials, check out our latest white paper by clicking the button below. It's free!

mentoring millennials

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We Believe In 8 Mentoring "Truths"

  
  
  
  1. Mentoring is a customizable solution. Choose from a variety of models and tweak the model even further to match your organization's goals.
  2. Mentoring doesn't happen only once in a person's life. If we're lucky, we're constantly being mentored and mentoring others, both formally and informally.
  3. Mentoring can happen outside of work. Some people point to the fact that certain types of companies, like busy startups, don't have the bandwidth to provide formal mentoring programs. Fair enough. But you can still find and work with a mentor outside of the workplace. There's no "rule" saying it has to be someone from the office.
  4. Yes, you can have more than one mentor at the same time. We're finding this is especially important for the Millennial generation (something we'll be talking about in a forthcoming white paper). Creating a mentoring network is perfectly acceptable. (Why wouldn't it be?)
  5. Mentoring, when done effectively, will be a transformative experience for the mentoree. This hasn't changed, nor do we think it ever will.
  6. Mentors often get just as much out of the mentoring relationship as the mentoree. Again, this hasn't changed either, and we don't think it ever will.
  7. It is possible to have an enriching mentoring relationship through new media, like Skype. At Management Mentors, we're big proponents of "face time." We believe people need to be present (physically, ideally) in order to experience the important nuances of the "unspoken" and nonverbal gestures. But we also know that in this global world in which we live, sometimes getting two people together in the same room isn't always feasible. But technology, like Skype, does make it possible to have face time. We're excited to think where we'll be in another quarter century...maybe we'll be able to beam people up for a meeting?
  8. Yes, the way we mentor today will be different from the way we mentor in 25, 50, and 100 years. We'll still be mentoring though, mark our words.
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