A New Way to Find a Mentor
When you think of mentorship, you probably imagine the traditional relationship with a mentor who is an established professional, typically older than the mentee, who is just starting out in a profession. The typical mentor and mentee develop their relationship by regularly meeting to support the mentee’s development. Legal, human resources, accounting, finance, and other organizations with mentor programs often structure the relationship this way. And since we’re taught from high school onward that this is what mentorship looks like, it’s not surprising that we see it this way.
However, we would like to change the conversation and move away from this traditional way of thinking. There is ample opportunity to expand the definition of mentoring and what it means to be mentored. Our ability to develop and distribute content and create remote mentoring relationships has never been easier. In doing so, you open up a new world of possibilities for your career and life.
Identifying Mentors in a Non-traditional Way
You may think that the best way to identify a mentor is to meet in person, whether in a formal meeting or just over lunch. We think, however, that you can find a mentor from a distance through their body of work. And, with technology and social media, the world is your oyster when it comes to identifying professional and personal mentors.
The first step is to identify those who influence and inspire you professionally and personally. It could be through their podcasts, books, blogs, or social media accounts. You might find mentors who are professionals in your field whom you admire and would like to get to where they are one day. Or, you might find “life” mentors who can help you navigate the ebb and flow of life, relationship challenges, and more. Sometimes, professional and personal mentors will be one and the same— but not always.
Once you identify potential mentors, you can follow their blogs, podcasts, and social media accounts. You then can engage with them professionally by commenting on their posts or asking questions. With time and practice, you might even be able to connect with them one-on-one outside a public forum.
Choosing Peers as Mentors
We believe peers can be mentors, too. To mentor someone means to train and advise them, and there does not need to be a hierarchy of age to develop a mentor relationship. When you consider that we all have different perspectives and expertise, this approach offers an opportunity to learn from each other. Maybe your peer has skills or experience that you don’t, and vice versa, so you can even mentor each other.
Allowing the Mentorship Relationship to Evolve Organically
You can’t rush the mentorship process. As you grow and your knowledge grows, you can attract like-minded peers and have conversations to share ideas and grow together. As you identify peers who have accomplished what you would like to accomplish, you can surround yourself with them and join the environments where they hang out, both online and offline. With time, you will create rewarding and long-lasting relationships.
Be Creative When Selecting Mentors
The traditional mentor-mentee relationship still has value, and we are not trying to deter you from it. Talking with someone on the phone or in-person, as often as needed, can support you personally and professionally. But whether you’re in legal, human resources, finance, accounting or another field, be creative and expand how you define mentors in your life. Don’t limit yourself to traditional thinking when it comes to your mentoring relationships. The sky is the limit—you can have just one or several mentors who span the globe to help you grow professionally and personally.
Looking for a more strategic solution to your human capital needs? Our staffing experts can help.