What is mentoring and how did I get involved?
For me being mentored and becoming a mentor was something that happened organically. I have always been open to ideas, keen to learn and strived for improvement. Throughout my life both in social and work environments I have engaged with people who I now recognise inspired me and were independent thinkers. I wasn’t actively seeking mentors as such but looking back I realise that is exactly what they were to me.
As I told Good Housekeeping (October 2016) I really lost my confidence after being out of the work place for 10 years while raising my son. So I truly understand what it means to have someone believe in you and guide you back and beyond from where you were.
While working for the beauty brand Liz Earle Cosmetics alongside the founders, two incredibly inspirational women Liz Earle and Kim Buckland, I came into contact with the Prince’s Trust. At the same time I headed up a large diverse team of people and I found that for many, I wasn’t just leading them but mentoring them. So when as a company we partnered the Prince’s Trust on their Tomorrow Campaign which took mentees from various industries and put them with an industry leader to act as a mentor, I suddenly became very aware of the power of mentoring and the difference it can make.
Cindy Robbins, Executive Vice President Global Employee Success – Salesforce. “I believe that having a mentor is key to a successful career, regardless of your background or level. This has certainly been my own experience, and I’ve seen many of my peers and team members thrive as a result of a quality mentoring relationship.”
This experience really struck a chord so several years later after starting my own consultancy and considering doing some charity work; I received an email from the Prince’s Trust searching for mentors. I duly put my name forward and as they say the rest is history. I just knew I wanted to give something back and for me the young need as much support as possible they are the future.
What I do know that is to be mentored successfully you have to want to grow either personally or professionally. You need to be open to new ideas, want to learn and be flexible to change. And to be a good mentor you need to be positive, a good listener as well as a good communicator, but above all be able to ask questions that engage and encourage. It’s all about confidence building and developing a relationship of trust and respect.
Mentoring is certainly not all one way and it is not about telling someone what to do. Again as a business or individual I encourage people to look at their ideas and themselves in a different way. Pointing out fresh angles they may not have considered in a positive way, setting them on a journey with the right tools and knowledge to achieve their goals.
Val DiFebo, CEO Deutche New York. “Having a mentor is one of the most valuable things you can do in your career.”
We are in a time when more businesses are launching than ever before and existing ones have to rethink their position in the market place and how they are going to survive and succeed long term. It is a time for change for many so having someone to not only help you plan the changes strategically it is key to have someone to support, encourage and guide you to find the right direction.
Entrepreneurship is also something that is being encouraged not only for those thinking of starting a business but within companies who want innovative, outward thinkers who can run departments like a micro-business. The Government is also in the process of delivering agendas promoting entrepreneurial skills within secondary schools.
As Alex von Tobel, startup founder and Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship said when asked for her advice to other young entrepreneurs. “Get mentors.”
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Editor: Tracy Hastain