Throughout my life, I’ve been mentor and mentee in many different aspects. Recently I’ve taken on the role in part of a mentorship program for women MBA students at a local university. This has got me thinking about what it means to be a mentor.
A mentor is someone who is an example of behavior, a source of shared knowledge and experience, a person to facilitate powerful introductions, and an advocate for you in job advancements and opportunities. Often times we think of mentorship as an older, more experienced person, taking a younger, new to the field individual under their wing, but given the above definition, I think it can be more than that!
In a world of collaboration culture, multi-generational teams, and technology advancements, mentorship at its best is up, down and sideways.
Have you ever considered being mentored by someone significantly younger than you? Say, that 10-year old who’s obsessing over YouTube videos and can show you all the ins-and-outs of YouTube searches and other video platform distribution.
Or the all too often mentioned love of networking, have you ever consider this as an actual form of mentorship relations? The act of giving insight, experience, and knowledge to also receive as well as letting an entire bustling network (your network) of individuals know your goals.
Then there is team work. How deliberate are we in our choosing of teams; both in self-choosing, but also as a leader in the assignments of teams? Peer-mentoring comes in the form of small groups of similar interests or with a shared goal, but at the same time can be very different from each other. It brings value to peer-mentoring to add differences that expand our range of thinking and understanding.
Lastly, have you ever considered yourself as your own mentor? Are you your best example of behavior, a source of knowledge and experience, a person who can lead themselves to power introductions with others, and an advocate for your own job advancements and opportunities? With a mindset of self-improvement and life-long learning, you can be your own best mentor, but more importantly on the path of greatest potential to be a mentor to another.
What are your best experiences throughout your life with either side of mentorship?
This article was written by Jill Grammar-Williams, owner of American Name Services.