Mentoring can be a rewarding experience for everyone
Mentoring can be as rewarding of an experience for the mentor as it can be for the mentee, but sometimes people are unsure as to how to go about actually becoming a mentor or what to do once they become one. Like any other skill, good mentorship takes effort and practice. You get out of it what you put into it.
Start With “Light” Mentorship
Not all mentorship needs to develop as a close one-on-one working relationship, at least not immediately. If you are looking to ease into a mentorship role, consider joining mentor networks. Industry organizations are a great place to start. In Chicago, the tech co-working space 1871 provides opportunities to act as a mentor through office hours and workshops. There are a number of organizations like this across the country, and I am sure there is one in your area.
Give Your Mentee the Tools They Need to be Successful
Mentorship is about opening doors for your mentee and enabling their success. Give your mentee the tools to do well and give feedback, both positive and constructive. Encourage your mentee to evaluate their own performance by asking where they think they can improve, and sharing your own strategies and opinions in these areas. Urge your mentee to take chances while sharing the lessons you have learned. Mentorship should be natural; when done right, both of you will gain from the experience.
Watch out for Those Following in Your Footsteps
As women in business, we have knowledge that is particularly pertinent to the young women entering the business world. If you struggled to break into your field and fought to be taken seriously, you have helped to pave the way, and you have valuable lessons to share. Let women around you know that you are willing to answer their questions about your field and your experience, and see who comes to you for guidance or advice. There is no need to formally declare your mentorship. Over time, if your relationship is positive for both of you, it will develop.
Everyone’s experience of mentorship will be different, but the power of strong mentors is clear. Mentorship allows us to build bridges within and across businesses, improve our own performance and help people of all ages realize their full potential.
Tricia Meyer is managing attorney of Meyer Law, a forward-thinking boutique law firm providing top-notch legal services to clients ranging from startups to mid-sized companies to large corporations in a variety of industries including technology, telecom, financial services, real estate, advertising, marketing, social media and healthcare. Learn more at MeyerLawGroup.com and follow us on Twitter @Tricia_Meyer or @Meyer_Law.