Writer’s Corner: The Magic of a Mentor

Writer’s Corner: The Magic of a Mentor

5 Things To Do To Experience the Magic of a Mentoring Relationship

Developing a relationship with a mentor, and becoming a mentor, is a must for successful any kind of professional development. Not only does a mentor provide you with an avenue of learning scripted specifically in answer to your most burning questions, but they will be an ongoing source of motivation and inspiration. A good mentor offers positive guidance for your career along with providing a haven for objectifying concerns and challenges. They’re also great resources for career enhancing connections and collaborations, championing of your progress and celebrating your wins.

But developing a great relationship with this “champion” of your efforts, and eventually becoming a mentor yourself, requires initially putting forth effort. Here are five things you will need to do to experience the magic of a mentoring relationship.

Be Mentor Ready: The first thing to decide upon before embarking in a mentoring relationship is whether you have high potential. This translates accordingly: First, you must be committed to professional success and second, be willing to listen and learn. Some authors, writers, and career professionals thrive only in relationships where they own the spotlight. There is always room to grow and a having a mentor shows your willingness to learn.

To be a great mentee, you must be open to accepting the guidance of more seasoned and experienced professionals. You should be able to put your ego aside and let the mentor take the lead, which may include playing only a supportive role in collaborations. Another mentor readiness test is your level of commitment. You must respect their time, keep scheduled appointments with your mentor, and follow up on what you’ve agreed to do. Finally, you must be appreciative. Extending appreciation along with the offer to reciprocate in some way, is imperative.

Select a Mentor. Think of this process like dating. You’re seeking someone who you admire, can comfortably share with, readily learn from and above all, enjoy spending time with. But even though the interpersonal relationship may be solid, you still need to ascertain a couple of key professional attributes in your selected mentor. First, they should be willing to share career-enhancing expertise without feeling threatened by your commitment to success. In other words, if the potential mentor is in a similar business or on target for the same position or promotion, the relationship could turn from collaborative to competitive.

Instead, seek someone with industry experience and knowledge that won’t be compromised by freely offering honest insight. Your mentor should also be willing to share their own mistakes and what they’ve taken away from those experiences. When appropriate, they should offer criticism and constructive feedback, in addition to praise.  It’s always best to find someone who understands your career path so they can guide you as an expert. And though they are leading the professional relationship, they must be willing to adapt to your needs, as well.

Mentoring should be a free exchange of information. If your would-be mentor requires payment, then they are not a mentor, they are a coach. So, be clear from the get-go, that you’re seeking a mentoring relationship.

Find a Mentor. When the time comes to find a mentor, start in your own backyard. Ask your friends and colleagues and even those within your existing circle.. Perhaps there is someone that you work with whom you’ve “admired” from afar but have yet to develop a working relationship with; well, now’s the time. Use informational interviews to test the waters with potential mentors or to identify new leads. Social media platforms are another way to develop potential mentors such as reaching out to your LinkedIn contacts about possible recommendations. Local colleges and universities are another great resource for mentor-types who have a keen understanding of this learned relationship.

For more formal alliances, contact your professional associations or formal networking groups. Many writing and author associations have already established mentoring collaborations that only require you to sign up You might also find your mentor at your next conference. It may take several attempts to find a mentor, or mentors, right for your current professional needs and keep in mind that it’s okay to say “no.” If a mentoring relationship is not helping you, be honest and tell your mentor the reasons why. Perhaps this will be a golden opportunity for the student to be the teacher.

Respect the Mentoring: A mentoring relationship is fundamental for successful professional development, for both the mentor and the mentee. It lays the foundation for professional insight, opens doors for novice professional and creates both unique, and mutually beneficial, collaborative opportunities. But the mentor/mentee relationship is also a personal relationship built on trust. If either party should breach the unspoken code of mentoring ethics, careers could be jeopardized, and crucial connections compromised. There’s a lot of power within this relationship and that’s what makes it so all important.

Contemplate Mentoring: Before you commit to becoming a mentor, ask yourself if you’re ready to step into a professional relationship where you’ll routinely impart industry knowledge, share ideas and guide someone eager to learn. If you’ve ever considered teaching, this may be perfect for you. Becoming a mentor also helps you develop professionally. As a mentor, you’ll hone your expertise and become more masterful in your craft. Your better understand your talent and gifts as you rediscover all that you know (and in some cases, don’t). But more importantly, you’ll give value to others. And that is one of the most rewarding experiences of your career. 

When the mentoring relationship works, it’s magical and the possibilities are endless.

I hope this article provided you with a few applicable ideas.  I would be honored if you shared this on social media. And speaking of sharing, please share your own ideas and experiences below. Together, we can build an uplifting community that focuses on supporting each other’s success.

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