Having mentors throughout my career has been an enlightening experience for me. Mentoring others has been equally rewarding. Mentoring can be within a formal program or occur informally. A mentor – mentee relationship is a commitment between two people.
The role of a mentor is to encourage the personal and professional development of a mentee through the sharing of expertise and knowledge. The mentoring relationship is developed through mutual trust, respect and communication. Both parties agree to meet regularly to exchange ideas, discuss progress and set goals for further development. Mentoring is a process.
Receiving guidance from a mentor can offer a mentee the opportunity for personal and professional growth. A mentor can offer advice on how to develop ones strengths, develop new skills, or expose them to new ideas and ways of thinking.
My first boss outside of college was my first mentor I realized years later. He taught me to be selective of the battles I fought and to take my seat at the table, I earned it. Those words of wisdom have guided me throughout my life and career, especially with the “imposter syndrome”. Another mentor guided me through the maze of office politics in the federal government. I learned through her how critical political alliances are in the workforce. You can be an outstanding worker, but if others do not see your brilliance, your career will stall.
As I mentor, I have seen people I have mentored develop to become better speakers or improve their technical skills. Watching a mentee give her “Ice Breaker” speech in Toastmasters, thrilled me to the core. Watching another mentee learn cyber skills was fun. Through mentees, I have gained technical expertise and honed my leadership skills. Mentoring is more than the transfer of advice, knowledge and insights. It is relationship building.