By Randi Bussin
Looking for your dream job? Ready to try something new? Helpful tips and tools to move you from one career to another.
Mentoring and Your Personal Brand
Having a mentor can provide a big boost to your career/life satisfaction meter as well as enhance and extend your personal brand. But most people don’t engage mentors, despite the huge benefits. Perhaps this stems, in part, from the definition of mentoring that many people carry around in their head. In the old world of work when I was coming up the corporate ranks, mentoring was rare and truly a one-way street. Typically a mentee or protégé had a single relationship with an individual, who was hierarchically superior to the mentee, and usually in the same organization.
Turn the clock ahead to present day and you’ll notice that mentoring has a very different feel to it. Those who are successful in career and life typically engage in multiple mentoring relationships at any given time, both formal and informal. These relationships tend to occur in many forms and with a wide variety of people, including subordinates, peers, superiors and people outside your company. Think of it as your own personal Board of Directors or Advisors.
Another reason individuals don’t engage mentors is that they do not understand the value that a mentor can offer them. Mentors offer different types of guidance and assistance:
- Career assistance, such as coaching, providing exposure to new and challenging opportunities, enhanced brand visibility, and protection from damaging or tricky political situations
- Social assistance, such as role modeling, counseling, advice on work-life balance, and friendship
- Technical assistance, such as entering the new world of social media, training on an IT tool, and the nuts and bolts of a particular industry or role
As you think about your own career goals, take a moment to step back and evaluate your own developmental network/mentors.
- What patterns do you see in your network?
- What type of relationships would you like to cultivate?
- How might you improve the quality and quantity of your relationships?
- How might you increase the diversity of your network?
- How has your network changed over the course of your career?
- What opportunities exist for you to become a mentor to someone else?
In the second part of this series, we’ll explore what makes a good mentor and mentee.
Randi Bussin, a Career Reinvention strategist, guides executives and business owners towards a renewed sense of direction, an actionable career reinvention and personal branding plan.