Mentoring in the Workplace

Within every company there are people who are looked up to and revered for their success, work ethic, and personality.  It is people like this who you should look for when trying to find a mentor for your career, and the type of employee and person you want to become, especially if you are looking to mentor young minds in the future.  Having a mentor is invaluable, both for learning new skills and for networking in the future.

There are certain skills a person has that one should look for when searching for a mentor in the workplace.  one of the most important to look for are great communication skills.  These skills will not only help you in your future work, but will also create a much more fluid relationship between you and your mentor.  These communication skills can cover everything from face-to-face communication to proper e-mail etiquette.  Finding a mentor who can convey themselves professionally and effectively is essential.  Another major skill you may want your mentor to have is the ability to relate to others.  This ties directly into the communication, as having a consistent and professional rapport with someone will often lead to much smoother communication.  Relating to others can help maintain great client relationships as well as strengthen the team you are working with as a whole.  If a manager invests in the lives and well-being of their subordinates it generally creates better motivation and a more enthusiastic atmosphere.  One final thing to look for in a mentor is someone you can create a personal relationship with as well as a professional one.  Knowing someone's life outside of work creates a much stronger bond and trust than someone you simply work with.  This connection will be paramount to your success as a mentee and their success as a mentor.

Once you have found someone willing to mentor you it is important to understand that it is a give and take relationship from both sides.  Although they will be giving the vast majority of the advice and doing most of the teaching, they will need information from you in return.  Your interest and dedication to learning should be noticed by your mentor.  This will allow your mentor to know that their words are being absorbed and used, and that they are truly making a difference.  There are also two important things to give your mentor throughout the process: feedback on their mentoring, and progress reports on your own skills and abilities.  The feedback will allow for a better mentoring process often more tailored to your learning style, and the progress reports again show the mentor that the hard work they are putting in to help you improve is truly paying off.  Keeping the lines of communication between you and your mentor constant are essential to maximizing the potential gains from the mentoring program for both of you.

One oft overlooked advantage of a mentoring program is the possibility of networking that comes along with it.  If you have a great relationship with your mentor as they rise through the ranks you may rise along with them.  Often people are able to pick the teams that work along with them, and a mentor may be able to bring you along on a venture such as that.  The networking possibilities that come from maintaining a great relationship with your mentor are numerous and invaluable.

Mentoring programs are something that are becoming more common within our workplace today as employers are focusing more on internal progression and advancement than ever before.  Having a good mentor and a good relationship with them can help you succeed not only in the position you have now, but throughout your future career as well.