Who me, a Mentor?
By Stacey Rivers
I never considered mentoring until I realized I was a mentor already. It started when I became a manager and had to motivate and coach employees to perform to the best of their abilities. I tried to relate to people as I wanted to be – respectful, personable, truthful, and genuine. The positive results impacted my department and my vice president, who later commended me and planted a seed for me to mentor others.
Slowly, requests came in from employees in different areas of the operation, and they wanted to meet with ME. They had questions about how to improve their skills, gain visibility, transition into other jobs, manage a challenging manager, etc. Then it dawned on me…I had become a mentor!
While most of these meetings were a one-time download of my experience and advice, nevertheless, I was being asked for my opinion. It was a weird moment when I realized that I had valuable information to offer someone – it had always been me asking how to navigate certain situations. It felt good to know I was helping others find their way as so many had helped me. Mentoring is a gift that keeps giving – you can pay your mentors back by mentoring others, and at some point your mentees should do likewise.
I know what you are thinking, “who me, a mentor?” Yes you! Consider this before you rule out the thought:
– Have you ever had a mentor?
– Have they been valuable to your career?
– Do you have experiences that you can share with others?
– Do you like connecting with and helping people?
If you answered “yes” to any one of these questions, I challenge you to explore the idea of mentoring.
The great thing about mentoring is that it can be as formal or informal as you like. It can be a single meeting or a series of meetings. It can be in person, over the phone, or in email. It can be over lunch, dinner, coffee, or brunch. Mentoring at its core is the human spirit connecting with another for the purpose of enlightenment and charting success. The by-product is a lifetime connection and a lasting impression on someone you’ve invested in. Try it, you might like it. And if you don’t, try again!
Stacey Rivers is the Sr. Director of Mentoring for WICT Southeast and a Director with Turner Broadcasting Systems, Inc. WICT Southeast offers mentoring programs for industry members and college students and has won the WICT National “Excellence in Mentoring” Award for the past three years.