Posts Tagged ‘experience’

National Mentoring Month

January 30, 2012

President Obama declared January to be National Mentoring Month.  As a result, mentoring has been highlighted in many ways throughout the month.  I especially appreciated hearing personal success stories from several mentors and mentees during the month.  But, hey, January is almost over!  (How did that happen?)  Mentoring goes on all year – not just in January!  Mentors will continue to share their knowledge and experience to guide and coach others; while mentees will continue to seek out individuals who can contribute to their personal and professional development.  If you’re not in a mentoring relationship now, feel free to contact me to find out how you can get involved as a mentor or mentee – or both.  Don’t wait until next January.  The amount of time and effort is small, but the rewards are great!


CNN – 5 Questions to Ask Your Mentor

April 18, 2011

In last night’s “Reclaim your career” segment on CNN, Deborah Feyerick, an award-winning CNN correspondent, conducted an interview with Valerie Burton, author of “Why Not You? 28 Days to Build Authentic Confidence”.  Since a mentor’s experience can shorten your own learning curve and help you reach your goals faster, it is important for a mentee to ask the right questions.  Deborah and Valerie shared five questions that you should ask your mentor.  If you are just starting out in a mentoring relationship, these simple questions will jumpstart your discussion and your learning.

  1. What is the best decision you ever made?
  2. What is the worst decision you ever made?
  3. What is the one thing you wish you had known when you were starting out?
  4. How do you handle setbacks or disappointments?
  5. Now, what is the wisest step I can take?

If you’d like to read the transcript of this CNN interview and learn more about what can be gained from these five questions,  click on the attached link.

They’ve Got the Spirit!

August 27, 2010

Yesterday, I attended a Women’s Equality Day Luncheon commemorating the 90th anniversary of women’s suffrage.  We were about 200 women all together, celebrating the women who fought for our right to vote while acknowledging current “opportunities” and preparing for future challenges.   It was gratifying to see that women of all ages were in attendance.  They ranged from school girls and college coeds to ladies who smiled as they pushed their walkers through the crowd. 

Following the luncheon keynote address by the Lieutenant Governor, there was recognition of women from the audience who had served or who are now serving in elected office.  Those recognized held important positions as: city council president, school board member, mayor, judge, state representative, and county executive.  Once they had been introduced, several of the women spoke out (shouted out really) to encourage the younger women in the audience to run for public office.   They offered to mentor other women through the process, sharing their experience, networks, and knowledge of the process. 

So, what a few women started 90+ years ago continues to grow for the good of all women and for our entire nation.  That’s the spirit!

Learning is Like an Iceberg

June 18, 2010

When I talk about mentoring to others, I often use the analogy of an iceberg.  There is a part of the iceberg that is visible above the water; think of that as learning that you gain through classroom training, read in books, research online, etc.  Then there is the even larger part of the iceberg that is under the water; think of that as learning that you acquire through experience – your own experience or through that of a mentor.   It can include cultural norms, individual preferences, system shortcuts, etc.  Most people soon discover that the submerged portion of their iceberg (learning) is larger than what is visible – and more likely to sink the ship or cause serious problems.

Mentoring helps new employees become more productive more quickly, assists managers and executives as they transition into new roles, and retains valued employees.   Each of us can reach our full potential by getting involved in mentoring, as either a mentee or as a mentor.  Contact me to find out you can get involved.

Can I Have a Mentor?

May 27, 2010

A friend of mine started a new job a couple of weeks ago.  This role is perfect for her!  It builds on her past experience while challenging her to expand her thinking and skills on a global level.  However, reentering the workforce after a lengthy time of unemployment was rather intimidating.  She also recognized that having a broader perspective of her new “corporate home” would help her to be more effective in her new job.  During a meeting with her boss this past week, she asked if he could recommend someone as a mentor for her.  At first, he was surprised.  He had assumed that her past experience would be enough for her to figure things out.  However, he also realized that he needed her to be productive in a short period of time.  As a result, he promised to talk with a manager in another department to ask for someone from that team to be her mentor.  He closed the meeting by thanking my friend for raising the question.   

Ideally, every organization would have an onboarding process or corporate mentoring program so that every new employee could be assigned a mentor – someone outside of their direct reporting relationship who could be a teacher, coach.   If you are not aware of such a program in your organization, raise the question.

Money Mentors and More

March 26, 2010

Men and women of all ages are seeking out Mentors.   And for all kinds of reasons.   For example, we look to Mentors for advice relating to the start of a new job, career advancement, or to achieve better work/ life balance.  Athletes often look to their coaches as Mentors.   USA Today recognized another need for mentoring among its readers who are planning for or who are reaching retirement age.  USA Today has started an online mentoring program called Money Mentors.   The objective of the program is to provide advice on how to prepare financially for retirement.   The program features six Mentors, ordinary people who have volunteered to share their personal knowledge and experiences with others.  They give advice while sharing their goals, lessons learned, successes, and failures along the path to their own retirement.  And readers are responding – with e-mail questions regarding retirement expenses, investment choices, children’s inheritance, and other significant money issues. 

What knowledge and experience do you have that you can share with others as a Mentor?

Can Anyone Be a Mentor?

January 28, 2010

Not everyone has what it takes to become a Mentor all of the time.  Building a healthy mentoring relationship requires the right combination of knowledge, experience, coaching skills, time, and interest in others. 

  • Bridget has just been promoted within her company.  She feels like she has a lot to offer and would like to become a Mentor for other women in the organization.  At the present time, she is working long hours as she takes on her new job responsibilities.  Maybe in six months or so…?
  •  Gordon is a senior technician.  His company just merged with another company.  He is being “encouraged” by his boss to become a Mentor for one of the technicians that is coming over from the other company.  Gordon said that he doesn’t mind answering technical questions, but he doesn’t want to deal with another person’s problems.   Should his boss press the issue?

Mentoring is a commitment that requires time, attention, and skill.  Consider what you have to offer and whether becoming a Mentor is the best fit for you now.

Capitalize on Experience

December 7, 2009

There are times when an individual would like to explore new or different ideas, resolve a problem, or solicit career advice from someone more experienced.  In his feature for CNN titled, “Learn from the Best: Work with a Mentor”, Mike Tutton urges employees to seize the opportunity to learn from the professional experience of others within their organization.  He reminds us that it’s not just those on “The Apprentice” with Donald Trump who can benefit from experienced advice.  Many organizations offer mentor programs that allow an employee to bond with an experienced mentor to generate new ideas, explore possible solutions for difficult problems, or build on existing competencies. 

Due to economic pressures, some organizations have become so lean, that there is no longer anyone available to provide knowledge transfer or to offer professional advice.  In those cases, the employee must become more creative, seeking mentors from outside the organization. 

If you are searching for a mentor outside of your organization, first consider contacts within your personal network.  Consider people you have met through outside organizations, meetings, or acquaintances.  If you aren’t able to locate a mentor that meets your needs through these means, put technology to work for you.  Find a mentor through the use of social networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.  Resources such as these can provide you with access to experienced professionals from all over the world.  Your mentor may only be a few key strokes away!