How To Boost Your Career By Mentoring

Mentoring is a practice that is becoming more commonplace today in companies that are successful and also care about the development and growth of their employees in both personal and professional fields. Here at Suzzanne Uhland’s Blog, we have explored the many reasons mentorships benefit the individuals involved in the relationship directly and how the company is indirectly greatly enhanced as well by providing the space, guidance, and motivation to harness mentoring as a tool towards evolution.

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In your own career progression, we are sure you can recall the times when you had to learn about a process or find a way to deal with a situation and realized you were faced with learning opportunities. After that, you became aware when these situations repeated themselves and were able to act accordingly based on your own experiences or if you were lucky enough, according to the teachings you received from a coach or mentor you had. Lastly, there is a time in which you are faced with being able to pass your knowledge down to others.

Teachings are in itself a very rewarding experience, but are there other things that I can expect to receive when investing my time and energy as a mentor? Are there other ways to boost my career by participating as an active member in a mentoring program and lending my time towards helping mentees grow personally and professionally?

Teaching is learning

Teaching is a powerful tool that allows you truly gauge your understanding of how things work. People have a tendency to believe that they understand concepts better than they really do. Through teaching, you actually become aware of your understanding as you try to instruct others on procedures or ideas. When you show someone how to do something, you understand details that you may have overlooked before, and thus you gain a deeper understanding yourself and learn from your own instructions as a result.

Building bridges

Having a great relationship with colleagues and coworkers is something that greatly aids the progression of your career. This type of internal networking allows you to have a closer relationship with the people you share your work with and that way you can ensure that people are collaborating and looking out of each other. Mentoring is an excellent way to strengthen those bonds and to create new ones with incoming personnel that has just arrived at the company or who have started their progression through the ranks.

Seeing your worth

Mentoring helps you evaluate your own career advancement and gain perspective in how much you have accomplished. When you are a mentor, you can see how far you have gotten by sharing this time with people who is just getting started in their own profession. Being able to see how you can contribute to the advancement of others and how influential those contributions become is truly uplifting.

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Leadership development

As a mentor, you have to guide and oversee people from different backgrounds and with diverse sets of skills, something that will truly test the potential of your leadership and management skills. Everything about being a leader from the way you deal with adversity in the manner you communicate with others will be tested when you become a mentor. This type of practice will only make you a much more capable manager.

Learning new skills

Everyone you meet can teach you something new. In a mentor-mentee relationship, that statement rings as true as ever because both individuals are given a great opportunity to exchange ideas and learn from each other in a real-world environment. Do not underestimate how much you can receive from your mentees even when you are the one who is supposed to be mentoring because in most cases both of those terms are interchangeable.

The organization

When you help others become more competitive and advance in their careers, you are at the same time strengthening the organization and giving back to the profession. As a leader, you know that the accomplishment of the mission is just as important as the welfare of the members of the company when you mentor you are helping address both of these factors.

Talent retention

Talented individuals should be retained, and a company must do everything within their power for these people to not just stay in the organization, but to never feel like they have a reason to leave. Mentoring is one of the ways you can contribute to the creation of an environment that makes workers feel appreciated and valued by the company.

Seeing the bigger picture

Mentoring gives you the opportunity to gain perspective from different levels of the organization. Sometimes your own privilege as a senior employee blinds you from seeing the issues that other members must face. This insight is unique and extremely valuable and being in a mentoring relationship allows you to have direct access to that particular stream of information.

 

What Can Mentoring Do For Me And My Career?

Mentoring just like teaching is an honorable endeavor in which someone decides to sacrifice some of his or her time to invest in the personal and professional development of another person. Mentoring programs can do wonders for a company not only by helping individuals become more competitive in the field and more prepared to undertake the challenges of the market but also by fostering an environment of wellness and loyalty towards the organization. Here at Suzzanne Uhland’s blog, we have talked before about the importance of mentors for career development and how they can impact many aspects beyond the company’s competitiveness and employee morale.

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A good mentor is a person who is willing to share their time, knowledge, expertise and overall skills. They can help you find some perspective and find an angle that can give you a more positive outlook in life. Mentors truly care about the success of their mentees and know what they are talking about when they share their advice.

One of the most crucial aspects of a great mentor is the fact that even as they can be a great leader and help you achieve more with their guidance, they understand that they are not a finished product themselves. Mentors who are truly remarkable are people who are constantly growing and becoming better at everything they do. They are curious, inquisitive and do not settle for staying inside their comfort zone. Perhaps this is why we always talk about your responsibility as a mentee and what you can do to reciprocate inside the relationship.

Sometimes the most challenging part of mentorship is to actually understand its advantages and seek the relationship as something that you accept as a beneficial career move. Many times people are unable to identify the necessity and advantages mentoring can bring to them and overlook this amazing opportunity and that is why today we want to explore a little bit into what mentoring can do for you.

One of the most valuable aspects of mentoring is its ability to allow you to look at yourself in the mirror. What we mean by that is the fact that mentoring allows you to actually examine your weaknesses just as much as your own strengths. Your mentor is a great source of feedback that can help you identify things that you didn’t even know about yourself. This aspect can sometimes work as a double edge sword as it is the case with some people who believe they want to honestly examine themselves but are sometimes unable to deal with the repercussions. Maturity and willingness to accept well-intentioned critique is absolutely necessary to make the most out of this part of mentoring.

Another very important aspect of mentoring and probably the one that draws the largest amount of people towards these relationships is the search for knowledge. It is obvious that you do not know everything, as nobody does, but mentors are individuals with vast knowledge and experience that are willing to take their time to share it with you. Getting involved with mentoring and being open to acquiring new knowledge is the right attitude to have towards your own development. Remember that this is not a one-way street and just as you are learning from your mentor, you can teach them things you know better than they do. Mentoring is a very enriching experience when it comes to sharing knowledge and exchanging ideas and skillsets.

The leadership skills you can pick up from a mentor are sometimes the best lessons you can receive without even thinking about it. Your mentor is a person that will teach you things, even while they are teaching because their example is one of the most valuable knowledge they can pass down.

In order to take advantage of the relationship, you must be vigilant and observe the way they do things and their reasoning behind the decisions they make. Think about it, they are people who have been successful in your same field and individuals you most likely look up to. Professional growth is just one part of the package and you must also grow as a person to further develop your career.

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Last but not least, a mentor is a great refuge where you can be completely honest and talk about the things that you do not understand or bother you without fear of the consequences of your candor. A mentor can give you a unique point of view from their leadership role and perhaps help you understand why some decisions are made at their level that you may not share or disagree with; all of this without risking upsetting your supervisors with your questions or your own discomfort with the situation. Mentoring is a great way to put yourself in the shoes of a leader and know what it takes to make the hard choices so you can be prepared for when the time comes in which you have to make those choices yourself.

The Importance Of A Mentor In The Law Profession

Mentoring is an effective way to empower others and a great tool for expert development that every company should utilize and every single professional should consider and employ in his or her own career. Mentors provide advice and guide mentees to develop solutions to career challenges, by using their unique experience in the field and a fresh perspective into issues being experienced. The relationship is not one-sided by any means; just as receiving guidance benefits mentees, they also play an important role by providing mentors with a unique insight of their own abilities, a different perspective of the industry and an opportunity to acquire new skills.

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The obvious advantages of being part of a mentoring program are no secret among successful attorneys, as they will tell you that very few things are as effective as having a great mentor, to drive forward your legal career. Having a person that is currently at the top of their field, take a personal and professional interest in your own development is something invaluable and must not be underestimated.

Mentoring in the legal profession is something that started from the very dawn of law itself. Way before training in academia, new lawyers were schooled in apprenticeships by more experienced representatives of the profession and thus they pretty much learned on the job as they went. As schooling became more formal and universities created programs focused on teaching pupils how to become lawyers, so did the mentorships evolved and transformed into organized and efficient programs that are considered just as important as they actual learning itself. Lawyers all read the same books and go through the same training, so how is it that some of them are much more successful than others? A great deal of credit must be given to mentoring relationships and the proper use of these partnerships, as they are not just helpful to candidates going through law school but also to interns and new lawyers who are just getting started at a firm.

Good mentoring relationships must begin as early as possible in the law career and their influence is of great importance for the development of the mentee and the further growth of the mentor. A good mentor can help their mentee focus their efforts in the branch of law that best suits their ability and give amazing insight based on their experience in the profession. In order to be successful, you must tailor your education and early career choices in such way to maximize efforts by aligning them with your interests and innate skills. This does not mean that mentoring is solely focused to the times before lawyers start to practice; the truth is farther from that as great mentoring relationships endure and become even more beneficial once the mentee has acquired some real world experience as well.

As the relationship goes both ways, we can also assert that mentors have a great deal to get out of their mentoring efforts. Benefits go beyond the obvious personal satisfaction of helping others in their profession to get ahead and succeed; they also introduce rising young talent into their professional network and strengthen their own reputation of great leadership and managerial skills. Great teachers are often so because they are able to learn from their students and from the way they themselves deal with issues brought forth by their protégées. Junior lawyers bring and a new set of skills to the table and a fresh view upon old practices. Sometimes that renewed perspective is enough to consider an untested approach to business and a new application of a ruling that was not considered by more experienced members of the firm.

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Mentoring relationships are diverse and they can be dictated mostly by the workplace and their own practices when it comes to mentorship. A lot of firms today are responding to the demands of the industry to create their own in-house programs to pair new members of their team with experienced partners thus creating working teams with many applications. These types of programs are a great way to strengthen the firm, to attract new talent and retain those who are part of the team, as members see these spaces as opportunities to advance both personally and professionally. However, in-house mentoring programs are not the only alternative present to those interested in finding a mentor but working at a place that doesn’t have mentorship opportunities readily available. The possibility to contact experienced attorneys for inquire about the possibility of mentorship opportunity is an option worth considering, as well as continuing a relationship with a former professor or a faculty representative that was present and whom which they may have an existing professional partnership that may continue to flourish.

For more great articles in mentoring and what a great opportunity these programs can be, check out our publications at Suzzanne Uhland’s Blog today.

 

10 Tips On How To Be A Great Mentee

Here at Suzzanne Uhland’s Blog, we always talk about the ways someone can be a better mentor and how rewarding this type of relationship can be for all parties involved, so in this occasion want to turn the tables around and chat about things from a different perspective. There is a lot of talk about how to be a great mentor and how to cause the greatest impact in your mentees by providing the right guidance and properly directing your experience to make the most out of the sessions; but how about the other side of the partnership? Mentees also have a great responsibility to make the situation work so it is mutually beneficial. A mentor-mentee relationship has to give both parties involved the opportunity to grow and to improve personally as well as professionally in order to be mutually appealing.

Let us take a look at some easy tips to consider when entering a mentoring partnership so you can work together as a team and make the most out of this excellent opportunity.

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Have clear goals

As with all endeavors, whether they are personal or professional, you must first sit down and decide what it is you want out of the relationship. A mentorship can help you find much-needed guidance when switching careers or advancing in your already chosen field of work. Trying to figure out what to do in more general terms in your professional life is also a valid goal, but the more specific you are about what you want to accomplish, the most you will be able to get out of the relationship.

Make your choice wisely

Just as important as deciding what you want to gain out of the mentorship, you have to also decide who you mentor is going to be. Whichever skill you want to gain or whatever field you want to receive further insight in, you have to look for someone who has significantly more experience than you. Your mentor has to be a person who is in a position you admire and perhaps even want to reach eventually. It doesn’t have to be the world’s top expert in that field, but it must know a lot more than you in order to help you advance.

Give just as you receive

Remember this is a two-way street and just like you are receiving help, you must also give back. There are many ways that you can do this as you also have skills that you can exchange with your mentor and even help him strengthen his own leadership and mentorship skills.

Keep communication flowing

You must actively communicate with your mentor and show interest in growing the relationship. Be inquisitive and interested, understand that your mentor’s time is valuable and they are investing that time in your growth. Keep your mentor informed of your advancement and your feelings about the partnership. Remember that you can also give feedback about their work as a mentor and thus help them get better at it.

Let your mentor speak

Listen more than you talk, take in all the information and take advantage of the learning opportunities. You do not have to show off with your mentor, to allow them to speak and get their message across. If you dominate the conversation then you aren’t doing either one of you any favors.

Trust the experience of your mentor

You chose your mentor for a reason, so if you are placing your trust in this person you have to not only listen but also follow through with the advice they give you. Mentoring sessions are there to talk about progress, to plan the next move and the pick up where you left off. If you aren’t doing what you both decided in advance, then what is the point of the mentorship?

Understand the importance of constructive criticism

Your mentor is there to give you feedback and even if you do not like it you should trust their experience. Do not make up excuses or try to justify your mistakes, remember that your mentor is not your boss nor your enemy and they are there for you. Your mentor’s goal is never to make you feel under attack, so you shouldn’t be defensive and understand the importance of the progress you are accomplishing together.

Ask the right questions

Your mentor may be experienced but they cannot read your mind. Be specific about your questions and always ask until you understand. If you come up with good ideas when you aren’t together, then write them down so you can ask when you meet or when you send them an email. A mentoring relationship is great because it will give you back just as much as you put in, so great questions will probably have great answers as well.

Always tell the truth

Be honest with your mentor, like we said before, you are in this together as a team. The more truthful and honest you are, the more benefit you will get out of your plans together. Remember they are not there to judge you but to guide you and help you be better.

Be grateful

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Mentors take time out of their schedule to help you, so be grateful and say thanks every once in awhile. Be appreciative of what a mentor is doing for your and always say thanks.