Making the Most of a Mentorship

Making the Most of a MentorshipMentorships can yield various benefits on both sides: having others to advocate for your career, opportunities for reflection and growth, and hearing unique perspectives from people with different life experiences. It’s also rewarding to be involved in a relationship that sets aside time for growth and development rather than day-to-day tasks at work or around the house.

I recently hosted the latest meeting of the Aite-Novarica Women’s Network on making the most of a mentorship. Panelists Rebecca Kollmann, Corporate Marketing Manager of Society Insurance; Jennifer Murillo, IT Manager of Delivery of Society Insurance; Jennifer Ramos, IT Application Services Director of Global Indemnity; and Kimberly Wilson, Director of Software Development Engineering of MetLife, shared their thoughts on developing successful mentoring relationships.

The Building Blocks of Mentoring Relationships That Last

The best mentoring relationships often arise organically from a question or need. One of our panelists shared the story of a colleague who became her mentor over twenty years ago. This relationship arose organically after she sought advice on a shared experience and lasted long enough that the panelist eventually became a mentor to the original mentor’s daughter.

Another panelist discussed how, when she started in her current role, she reached out to a colleague with experience in an area she wanted to learn about and asked for mentoring sessions. The relationship expanded to include an exchange of advice in other areas. The two colleagues were able to mentor each other as peers.

On other occasions, mentors and mentees can be matched through formal mentoring programs. No matter how they begin, mentoring relationships can outlast their original context and provide opportunities for mentees and mentors to develop their personal and professional selves.

Receiving Conflicting Advice from Multiple Mentors

Once you’ve successfully cultivated several types of mentoring relationships, you may run into confusion if (or when) they don’t all advise you in the same way. The first thing to consider is whether they all have the same amount of information, based on their own past experiences and the details you’ve shared with them. This factor can alter the accuracy of someone’s assessment of a situation.

On the other hand, people can have different perspectives and still all be correct. They may simply prioritize different things. A panelist shared a couple of questions a mentor posed to her many years ago:

  1. Is your challenge really that important to you?
  2. What part of it is truly important to you?

Asking yourself these two questions can help you understand what actions align with your priorities best and prepare you to navigate complex situations.

Make it a Priority to Put Yourself Out There

Panelists agreed that openness – for mentors and mentees – was key to benefiting from a mentoring relationship. Aspiring mentees should seek out and develop connections in their work life and personal network rather than wait for mentors to find them. Conversely, potential mentors should make it known that they are available to provide advice and feedback.

Emerging leaders don’t need to wait to hit a particular milestone or stage in their careers to begin sharing their experiences and knowledge with those around them. As one panelist explained, “I’ve never felt qualified to be a ‘mentor,’ but I have found things I can help people with.”

The next Aite-Novarica Women’s Network Virtual Meeting will take place on December 8, 2021, at 11 AM ET on the topic of “Inspiring Cultural Change.” Speakers will include Aite-Novarica Senior Principal Nancy Casbarro. More information is available at https://aite-novarica.com/womens-network.

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