30 Apr The Big Three Gamechangers
The three most valuable skills you can learn from a mentor.
The benefits to having a mentor are simply too numerous to count, and our country’s most effective leaders in business point to having a mentor as a primary ingredient of their success. We’ve waxed eloquently recently about some of the more useful dimensions of mentoring you may not have thought of, from career pathing to building team trust to behavioral interviewing. These are all immensely valuable, but in my opinion, a structured and engaged mentorship can help you acquire three skills that will radically improve the trajectory of your career.
Not everyone loves to network, and most people (like Yours Truly) see networking as a necessary evil. Articles abound about clever ways to introduce yourself, how to remember names, and similar networking pro tips. These tricks are all valid, but the most effective networking is done further upstream. Your mentor can connect you not only to people, but to the right people, the ones who have access to what you seek, or possess skills you want to obtain. Your mentor is a fishing net that pulls in the monster mature tuna while the adolescent swimmers pass right through. They can not only connect to the right people, but grant you access to events where these leaders congregate. What good are the best networking tips in the world if you’re networking at a conference for manufacturers of left-handed monkey wrenches? (yep it’s a thing) Let your mentor help you get face time with the correct faces.
Maybe you think you’ve got negotiation nailed. After all, you’re confident and you always remember to smile. But negotiation isn’t an innate skill; there are countless nuances to negotiating that prove now and forever that negotiating is about more than just confidence. Effective salary negotiation in a new position can mean increased income for the remainder of your career – and I’m assuming income is a fairly important part of why you work. Even negotiating at home has its benefits, but your mentor can provide a safe environment in which to improve this key skill and effect change throughout your professional experience.
Think for a moment about the best boss you’ve ever had. I’ll wager that their capacity to provide you effective feedback played a part in your determination of their awesomeness. Those that can help others course-correct while simultaneously inspiring them to increase their engagement are truly diamonds in the rough. You can hone this skill with your mentor by asking for their assessment of your skills and professional acumen, paying close attention to how they provide you feedback, and practicing providing feedback to them as it pertains to the value and validity of your mentoring relationship. You can work together on how to receive critical feedback, as well as practice giving critical feedback. The acquisition of this skill from your mentoring relationship positions you to be someone else’s favorite boss in the near future.
If you have a mentor, talk to them about these game-changing skills and how you’d like to elevate your capacity in each. If you’re in need of a mentor, ask your HR Dept if they can help facilitate your connecting you to a mentor. And keep in mind that there’s value in finding a mentor who isn’t your boss – but that your ideal mentor might be in another division. And if your company is thinking about launching a mentoring program, contact eMentorConnect can help you design and implement a program that’s perfect for the interests of your workforce.