This week on CWK we’re talking all things mentorship! Spoiler alert: I’m a firm believer in having mentors. The right ones can change the game for your personal and career development.
In this mini-workshop, I break down what a mentor actually is, how to find mentors, and the best way to utilize them. Whether you’re a new graduate, a leader looking to level up or a fresh face in your industry, take notes because this session is for you!
What do you think of when you hear the word ‘mentor’? I imagine a really old guy at a corporate desk who loves telling the story of how he didn’t use a calculator to do work “back in his day”. Crazy, I know! Haha
The actual definition of mentor is, “an experienced and trusted advisor”. Notice the definition doesn’t include age, status in the workplace, or qualifications in general. Mentors don’t have to ‘fit the mold’. Take my 11-year old niece for example. If anything goes wrong with my iPhone she’s my go-to! I’ve deemed her a mentor because she’s experienced and trusted. Don’t try to fit your mentor(s) into the box you’ve created or you may miss out on an opportunity right in front of you.
It’s important to know what a mentor is, but more important to know what kind of mentor they are to you. My foolproof ‘4 Mentor Method’ has been featured in Inc. and Forbes, and is just what you need to discover the best use of the mentors in your life.
Write down the names of those in your life who fit into these categories. Remember your mentor doesn’t have to be someone you know, they can give advice and inspo from afar.
As you identify your mentors I want to make sure you don’t confuse them with your advocates. Differentiate the two by remembering the definitions. Compare the definition of a mentor to that of an advocate – a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy.
This may be someone in a senior position at your company, organization, or team that supports or promotes you and gives you insider info on how things are really done in your industry. For example, at my old corporate job my advocate let me sit in on important meetings or phone calls and when a more senior role became available she pushed for me to be promoted.
For clarity, mentors help you answer questions like, ‘I want to make more money, what are some approaches I should take?’. While an advocate can help you answer, ‘Based on my current role and responsibilities I believe I am eligible for a raise, how have you seen this done in the past here?’
The two big mentor mistakes I see time after time are:
Selena Rezvani is the perfect guest to follow this workshop. This week I mentioned advocates but you know who’s actually your biggest advocate in the workplace? It’s you. Selena has helped thousands of people (specifically women) learn how to advocate for themselves in the workplace in a way that’s polite but direct. If it’s a struggle for you to raise your hand or nominate yourself at work this is for you. Bring a friend, bring your struggles and questions, this is going to be a great one.