How Mentors Inspire Their People Everyday

I think we can all agree on the fact that our own career success can seldom be attributed to ourselves alone. There are many people who throughout our process has inspired, guided and taken us under their wing and aided our own personal and professional growth.

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Being a mentor is a rewarding opportunity in which you are able to make a visible change in the life of many and pride yourself in knowing that your knowledge remains as a legacy that you bestow upon those who choose to follow you and allow themselves to be inspired by your work. Likewise, having a mentor is a great opportunity to learn from the experience of others and diminish the steep learning curve that some professions require. As a mentee you can live experiences without having to go through them yourself, saving a lot of time and resources to better focus your efforts on making your experience unique and maximizing the use of all the information you are gaining by having mentoring sessions with a seasoned professional.

The thing about mentoring is that its value goes beyond the knowledge and skill mentees can gain from the relationship; it is also about acquiring valuable social skills that prepare pupils to thrive in a fast-paced world in which knowing things or having the ability to accomplish tasks is no longer enough to be successful.

A mentor is also a great mirror in which mentees can see themselves reflected and receive valuable feedback about aspects they may not be able to personally recognize, but when brought forth by an objective observer, can provide great insight over how to proceed and where to focus efforts. Perhaps one of the greatest things mentors do is inspire their mentees into reaching their full potential by giving them a great example to follow and a north by which they can guide their own compass.

Today in Suzzanne Uhland’s blog, we want to talk about the ways mentors inspire us and how their example and habits can be so influential in the way followers learn and even act themselves.

Work as a bridge

One of the most inspiring characteristics a mentor has to offer their mentees is their ability to work as a bridge between the interested party and their own network. Mentors are people who are well-connected due to their extensive experience, and that is something that makes them quite valuable and also highly admired because it shows that other people in the business respect them and can vouch for their abilities. A mentor who is well connected is a great example to emulate and follow, and thus an immense source of inspiration.

Accessibility

Mentors who are easy to reach and easy to talk to are very inspirational because that down-to-earth attitude shows that they are in touch with reality and understand the importance of their own role as leaders. Mentors should answer emails and other inquiries and make themselves accessible in order to properly perform their duties and also gain the confidence of those who follow them by making them feel like they matter and their time is also important to them.

They are mentees as well

It goes along with that humility to be able to see yourself as someone who is constantly learning. No matter who you are, there is always something new you can learn from others. An inspiring mentor is someone who sees their mentees as sources of knowledge and understands that there is much that can be learned from them as well. This type of attitude is intelligent, admirable and considered highly inspirational.

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Inspiration through feedback

Honest and thorough feedback is something that every mentor should be able to provide to his or her mentees; however, this isn’t always the case. A mentor who takes their time and truly analyzes the situation and provides their pupils with advice that is applicable and relevant is a great source of inspiration and a driving force towards personal and professional growth. Do not simply go through the numbers, make an effort to give valuable feedback to your people.

Humility and confidence

Being humble goes a long way and there are few things that can earn as much respect and instill so much confidence than a person who is able to admit when they do not know something or when they are mistaken. A great mentor doesn’t stop there because even though they may not have the answers right away, they will surely find a way to acquire them.

Charisma

Mentors are interesting and engaging individuals. Notice the way the carry themselves in all settings, and it will come as no surprise the reason why they are successful. This skill is particularly inspiring because it applies to all settings and not just business related situations. A mentor who know how to carry him or herself is a great source of inspiration to someone who is making a name for themselves in the world and getting to know how things really work.

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The Best 3 Approaches To Finding The Right Mentor For You

A good mentoring relationship is something that many successful professionals give credit to when asked about how they got where they are. The benefits of mentorships are clear, measurable and evident to anyone who decides to even examine the matter and talk to those who have personally been involved in one of these great professional partnerships. Great mentors are people who have decided to sacrifice some of their time and effort in order to help someone else excel and attempt to reach their full potential.

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That aspect in itself is already commendable, but it is worth mentioning as we have said numerous times here at Suzzanne Uhland’s blog, that the proper mentoring relationship is a two-way street in which both parties are rewarded from the interaction in different manners. 

A mentee doesn’t let all the responsibility resting on their mentor’s shoulder, on the contrary, one could argue that mentees should be even more involved in helping guide the discussion and steer the course of the partnership, while at the same time finding ways to give back to their mentor by also sharing their knowledge and providing feedback that is extremely valuable for the mentor to assess their own interpersonal and leadership skills. 

People with the experience will tell you that there are few things as rewarding as seeing that your efforts are paying off when you are helping someone else get ahead in life, but at the same time you feel that the relationship nourishes you and helps you understand how to be better at what you do and how to make the most of everything you have experienced so far.

One of the most challenging parts of mentoring is actually finding the right mentor, or better yet, knowing what to look for in a mentor in order to choose the best person for you and also someone who can benefit just as much as you will during the partnership. In this article, we want to talk about 3 aspects you should broadly consider to make the right decision about your mentoring relationship and where it should lead you.

Thinking about short-term

Where do you want to be a year from now? This is one of the most typical questions people get asked at interviews, but there is a reason for that. Short-term goals are easily attainable benchmarks that can help you measure success in a short amount of time and also be motivated by seeing your own advancement. Having a mentor that is a reflection of where you want to be in the short-term is an excellent way to adjust your sights and start marching in the right direction. This type of mentor is great for helping take on small tasks and projects at your level because their experience is very similar to yours and they understand where you are since they were there not that long ago. These mentors can also help you gain insight on the company and aid you in finding ways to make your transition smoother as you try to get used to the new environment. This relationship can be quite informal, and you can take charge on getting started by discussing it over a cup of coffee as you socialize and get to know other people in the company.  

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Looking further ahead

While the previous mentor can help you think about how to best carry yourself on a daily basis inside the company, this second mentor is a person who can help you project to where you want to be in five years. This person can help with advice on how to advance in your field and within the company and how to accomplish your short-term goals but will your sights further ahead. Mid-level managers are exceptional individuals to look at when trying to find a “five-year-ahead” mentor since they occupy the positions where you may see yourself in the future while you are still part of the company and they already have some experience under their belt to share with you. Engaging into one of these relationships is a bit more formal and should be planned ahead. Treat it as if it were an interview and keep in mind that the person may not want to engage due to time constraints and other possible factors.

A Career Mentor

This advisor is someone who can help you answer the tough questions about where you want to go with your career and the ultimate goals you want to accomplish. A career mentor may work inside the company, or it could also be someone who has been successful in your field and you admire professionally. They take time to find, and you may have more than one through the years, but the one thing they will have in common is that they will become important to what you do and their opinion will matter on the decisions you make. A mentoring relationship is something to be cherished and cared for if you want to make the most out of it.

How To Enhance The Mentoring Relationship As A Mentee

Here is Suzzanne Uhland’s Blog, we have talked about all the great benefits mentoring programs offer the organization and each of the individuals involved in this type of relationships that stimulate mutual growth. People are often skeptical about mentorships because they feel that it is perhaps too good to be true. The idea of having a person who is successful and much more experienced than yourself, helping you bounce ideas out of each other and providing you with a unique insight into your own professional field for free, is sometimes difficult to accept. Mentorships seem like a great deal but in a world as competitive as ours, it is difficult to simply accept something that apparently puts you in the position of being benefited without having to give anything up but your time in return.

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The reason why people may think this about mentoring programs has more to do with our own ignorance of the role of a mentee than with any possible insidious nature hidden within a mentor’s motives. It is important to understand that successful mentoring relationships are a two-way street and that mentors have just as much to gain from them as mentees do. If you have been guilty of this mentality, then I invite you to learn a little more about the actual role of the mentee. And how being in the seemingly receiving end of the relationship, also comes with its own set of responsibilities and the need to give back.

Successful mentees that are able to make the most out of their relationship with senior individuals are those who seize the opportunities that arise when two minds work together on a single goal and are able to meet regularly to engage in that which they are passionate about.

One of the best ways to make your relationship become more reciprocal is to give a chance to your mentor to listen to what you have to say. Sometimes you have a lot to offer but neither of you are aware of the knowledge and experience you possess and that could be of great value. Mentors are people who are also looking to learn and will be happy to participate in activities that can turn into a learning experience. It is important that your fit with a mentor is based on a mutual understanding and you are both matched based on your personality and common values, since those type of pairings usually work best and spark the necessary curiosity that will allow both parties to become interested in each other’s set of skills and what they can teach one another. Simply being a good company and a genuinely interested individual can go a long way as a mentee.

Another aspect to consider is to be understanding and accepting of your role in the relationship and the fact that in most situations, it will be better for you as the mentee, to be flexible as to the dynamics of the mentorship. Your mentor may be a person who prefers to take on a coaching approach or perhaps they are more into answering questions and allow you to lead the course of the program. It is important for you to be aware of this and be respectful as to which type of relationship seems to be favored by your mentor.

Do not be afraid to talk about the things you know. Everyone is an expert at something and you have not achieved what you have thus far without being particularly good at something. Do not feel that your skills are irrelevant as you will be surprised how the things you know may change someone else’s life and in this case, help your mentor learn something or receive advice from a seemingly unlikely source. Something as common as the age or background difference can be a great place to start, as you can find many ways to teach your mentor something that you take for granted.

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Feedback is a great way to show you mentor that you respect the work you do together and that you take seriously the time they invest in your development. When you give your mentor feedback, you are helping him or her expand their own leadership skills and grow as professionals. Mentoring sessions are an excellent opportunity to evaluate one’s outlook on leadership and to conduct experiments on a smaller scale in which a mentor can evaluate the way they guide an individual and assert their own experience in order to help someone else direct their efforts towards their own professional and personal development. Just like giving feedback, it is important to actually listen to advice and trust the person you are working with. There is nothing more frustrating than a mentee that doesn’t listen to advice, as it makes the relationship ineffective and the time spent together feel as it were wasted.

* Featured Image courtesy of Matthew Burpee at Flickr.com

Great Ways A Mentor Can Boost Your Professional Life

A mentor is a person you choose to trust based on their experience, wisdom and willingness to help you in the enhancement of your personal and professional life. A mentor is someone who has lived some of the things you are going through and helps you make the most out of the situation by helping you recognize what you are doing right, what you have to adjust and how to best utilize your resources to receive the best possible yield out of your efforts. Mentors are a source of positive energy and attitude, as their outlook on life is always positive and they always help you look at the bright side of a situation and turn difficulties in learning opportunities by giving you direct and helpful feedback. Something else worth mentioning is that a mentor is always curious and inquisitive because they understand that they are not finished products either and that a constant search for self-improvement is a great example and a valuable lesson to teach those that follow them.

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Here in Suzzanne Uhland’s Blog, we have talked about ways to become a mentor and even the way mentoring is being portrayed in the media lately. Today, we want to analyze the specific ways a mentor can help you boost your professional life and aid you on the pursuit of a more fulfilling and successful career.

One of the greatest things a mentor can do for you is to help you be objective about your shortcomings, weaknesses, and mistakes. It is very easy to identify these things on others, but quite difficult to see it within yourself due to your own perspective and personal attachment to your situation. A mentor works like a mirror that talks back to you and doesn’t simply commend you on your achievements, but also helps you identify areas that need improvement and attention. A mentor is always thinking about what is best for you and understands the importance of having an open and honest relationship with the mentee in order to help them achieve the very best version of themselves.

Providing feedback while helping identify areas that need improvement is just one of the many things a mentor can do for you. Just as important as this, is the search for knowledge by taking advantage of the mentor’s experience.

A mentor is a person who is more knowledgeable in the particular area of expertise by which he or she was chosen to lead, and therefore, that knowledge is to be transferred in many ways to their mentee. It is important to consider that mentors have also made mistakes and gone through a lot of learning before they could find themselves in the position of being a mentor to others. That experience and the way they have reacted to those mistakes is one of the most valuable lessons a mentor can share with their mentees because those hurdles are probably common to that particular profession or line of work.

Another aspect that sometimes gets overlooked when it comes to the mentor and mentee relationship as well as the process as a whole, is the fact that a safe zone is provided for the mentees to decompress from their work environment and to talk about issues they may not be able to discuss with anyone else at work. It is no secret that work environment may be competitive and stressful environment and having a person available to talk to, to bounce ideas against and to turn to when searching for a fresh perspective can be extremely helpful. Some situations may be very sensitive to discuss with your boss or your co-workers, so turning to an outside perspective for advice is a great way to find possible solutions and to do so without risking possible negative consequences that may come from this.

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A good mentor is also a positive role model. This qualification applies not only when it comes to the professional aspect of the individual, but also in the way they behave in general. Mentors are respected by the mentees and they look up to them in more ways than one. It is important for the mentor to not only upkeep that image but also find ways to create situations in which they can impart knowledge by allowing the mentee to develop specific skills and qualities that may help them emulate the way their mentors would handle a specific situation.

A mentor always has a plan, but better yet, helps the mentee create a plan together. These plans include short-term goals and long-terms goals as well.

Short-term goals are ways to focus your immediate attention on aspects that need attention right away. A short-term goal projects results to be expected quickly and clearly evident in the life of the mentee. Short-term goals are highly motivational because they help you see that the influence of the mentor is yielding results.

Long-term goals usually fix attention upon the future, the growth of the professional life of the mentee and the way future projects should be directed to make a true lasting change upon their development.