What is Mentoring
Mentoring is a partnership between two people, which supports a personal and professional development strategy. More specifically, the term mentoring is used to describe a relationship between an emerging individual, (mentee), and a more experienced individual (mentor). Mentors provide career path and project advice as well as support and encouragement to help Mentees remain focused on what is important for their individual and project successes. Traditionally, mentoring involves a one-on-one relationship or a network of multiple Mentors and can range in formality from highly structured specific knowledge base transfers to more informal professional friendships. The duration of the relationship can be short or long term based on the goals and objectives of the Mentee, Mentor and any other involved parties and/or organizations.
Research shows that individuals who are mentored have an increased likelihood of career success as a result of the targeted development support they receive and the network connections they build. The overall goal is to develop a broad network of emerging geographic professionals based upon industry best practices and real world experiences from established and successful leaders. The value proposition to our members include:
• Providing access to a network that supports professional and career development activities
• Providing a link to a diverse array of resources to help accomplish career goals
• Enhancing chapter members knowledge of career success factors and valuable industry insight
• Building a career network that exposes emerging talent to the perception of geography as a profession
• Gaining inspiration and encouragement to target short and long-term goals
• Facilitating knowledge sharing
• Learning industry and/or work specific best practices across a variety of disciplines
The Mentee/Mentor relationship will revolve around developing and executing a mentoring action plan (MAP). A MAP helps build a bridge between where the mentee is now and where they want to be in the future. An effective plan addresses developmental areas that are important to the Mentee, produces concrete results and are manageable in scope. The basic tenets of a MAP: 1. Creating a vision statement; 2. Developing mentoring goals and objectives; 3. Outlining specific learning activities; and 4. Identify clear and concise milestones and program accomplishments.
The mentoring process will be a structured and formal path that also allows for the customization to an individual or set of individuals needs and desires.
Mentor and Mentee readiness will have a significant impact on how successful and productive the mentoring partnership will be. For the Mentor and Mentee ten characteristics have been identified to serve as a measure for determining readiness. Prior to enrollment in the program a short quiz will be administered to understand the Mentor/Mentee traits for interested individuals. The quiz will serve as a gauge for effective mentoring traits and will also identify areas that interested parties will need to improve prior to taking on mentor/mentee responsibilities. For Mentees the goal of the self-assessment is to understand individual personality characteristics against the effective and ineffective measures of personal development readiness. For Mentors the goal of the self-assessment is to determine your ability and willingness to help based upon the effective and ineffective measures to provide professional career guidance.
Finding the Right Connection
The Mentor - Mentee relationship is often personal in nature and its success is based upon the ability for the involved parties to be open and honest with each other. As such, finding the right person is about linking professional role and experiences with the personality traits that will allow for a conception to be made.
Creating the vision statement
Formulating a vision statement is the ability to see yourself in a situation that has not yet occurred. Topics to be considered for a successful vision statement include where you want to be, what you want to be known for, what you stand for and how you would like to make a difference.
Developing goals and objectives
After formulating the vision statement, the next step is to create specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely mentoring goals and objectives. These goals and objectives will be the driving force of your mentoring relationship and will create a starting point for the Mentee and Mentor to develop learning activities. A support process will be established for each mentoring goal to identify the progression path, allow for encouragement and hold participants accountable for goal completion.
Outlining specific learning activities
This is the final phase of the action planning process. Learning activities are the “stepping-stones” between where you are now and where you plan to be in the future. Bringing actions to a conscious level makes you better equipped to understand the significance of your learning experiences and activities. In addition, by identifying the developmental areas that will offer you the greatest opportunity for growth you will experience greater rewards at the end of the program and beyond.
Identify clear and concise program accomplishments and areas for improvement
It is important throughout the tenure of the relationship to list important accomplishments and areas for continuous improvement. Remember to celebrate the accomplishments but also define action plans to improve. Please keep in mind, that while some of the accomplishments and improvements will be concrete and tangible, others may not be visible or observable.
Successful Mentor – Mentee relationships are a two-way street where every meeting has the potential to provide new perspectives and learning opportunities to both parties. As such, participants are encouraged to build reciprocal relationships by asking insightful, personal questions and sharing personal stories whenever possible. Mentees should be equally willing to express and supply their own unique expertise to educate the Mentor in areas that may be outside of their experiences. Participants should also remain open, flexible, adaptable and responsive to differing personality, leadership and learning styles to ensure maximum benefit is attained. Finally, mentees must remember to heed the advice of mentors, work diligently to implement practical advice and provide timely, focused and measured feedback to the mentor so that they may grow as leaders.