Some of the world’s most successful people have mentors – relationships with experienced professionals giving them knowledge, insight and guidance to achieving their goals. If you ever feel stuck in your job or realise you’re underperforming even though you work hard it’s time to find a mentor. Just think what a difference this will make for your career!
Eric Schmidt (the former Chairman and CEO of Google) is an ardent supporter of business mentoring. He rates being advised to get a mentor as “the best advice I have ever received”.
What is a mentor?
Initially, a Mentor can be an encouraging and supportive colleague. Later, with experience and training, a Mentor can be the ultimate win-win business tool – the Mentee gets a helping hand to fast track his/her career and the Mentor gets the satisfaction of helping others develop.
In the business world, mentoring has its origins in the concept of apprenticeship. The idea of passing on experience to a young recruit became an accepted means of providing career progression and also building and retaining key skills within the business.
From these beginnings Mentoring has rapidly developed in the commercial world. Why? Because it works – it creates talented, committed and skilled employees.
Some years ago, I employed a lawyer from South Africa. He settled in England and wanted to re-train as a Lawyer here. He tried to fit in, he worked and studied hard, but I could see that without help he was struggling to succeed.
I agreed to mentor him because I believed in him and felt he had great courage and determination.
We met regularly at first. He had goals and outcomes, which I encouraged him to set. Soon I could see he didn’t need frequent meetings and we agreed that he would say when he wanted to meet. We left it open. That worked well. In no time at all he was a very valuable member of the team. He earned the respect of his colleagues for his work and for helping others. And yes, he achieved his goal of qualifying as an English Solicitor.
How will mentoring help you?
Being a mentee: Wherever you are in your sales career, you will benefit from having an experienced Mentor. Someone who:
- encourages you to look at your own individual development
- challenges and stretches you to try something different
- supports your view of what you can achieve.
Being a mentor: by supporting and mentoring a colleague you can enable and empower that person to pursue his or her own dreams.
You will develop your leadership ability by learning and practising skills such as active listening, giving feedback – the soft skills required both to establish what your Mentees’ abilities and needs are and to support them effectively.
Without doubt, you will grow in confidence and in stature.
REMEMBER: The key to good mentoring is to establish relationships that will deliver results. Just think how powerful those results can be within your sales team.
By Jenny Betts, Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organisation that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of meeting locations. Headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, the organisation’s membership exceeds 313,000 in more than 14,650 clubs in 126 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people of all backgrounds become more confident in front of an audience. There are nearly 300 clubs in the UK and Ireland with over 7000 members. Find your local club. Follow on Twitter.