Do you have a mentor? Honestly, I have to say that I don’t. It’s not that I wouldn’t appreciate one, it’s that I don’t know what I’d talk to a mentor about. Maybe you are in the same situation. Sometimes it’s a challenge to keep the conversations and relationship from getting stale.
In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share these four key questions from women’s leadership expert Jo Miller to help you get the most out of your mentoring discussions.
1. Stories. Everybody likes to talk about themselves. Ask your mentor to tell a story from his or her own career. For example, you could ask, “How did you get to where you are today?” or “Was there a time you messed up and felt like you’d failed? What did you do to recover?” or “What do you wish you had known before your first management role?”
2. Situations. Bring a situation to your mentor—one that you’d like help navigating. For example, “I tried to delegate a task last week and it did not go as well as I’d expected. Can you help me think through what to do differently next time?” or “I have these two very different career path options and would like your help making a decision” or “How can I let my boss know that I don’t need to be micromanaged?”
3. Self-awareness. One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is the gift of self-awareness, meaning the ability to see yourself as others perceive you. That way, if you like how you’re perceived, you can embrace it and take steps to strengthen that positive perception. If you don’t like how you are currently perceived, you can take steps to change that perception to a more positive one.
Your mentor can help by giving you feedback on how your actions and communication are impacting the way others see you. Ask a question, such as, “When I presented in that meeting last week, how did I do?” or “Could you give me feedback on ways to improve my leadership presence?” or “Am I coming across as high-maintenance when I send my boss weekly status updates?”
4. Skill-building. Is there a skill you’re currently working to enhance, such as project management, long-term strategic planning, delegating or public speaking? Ask your mentor for advice and resources that will help you polish that skill.
By preparing before every mentoring conversation, you’ll create more engaging dialog, and you might find that your mentor gets as much out of the relationship as you do.
Source: A leading authority on women’s leadership, Jo Miller is sought-after, dynamic and engaging speaker, delivering more than 70 speaking presentations annually to audiences of up to 1,200 women. Her expertise lies in helping women lead, climb and thrive in their corporate careers. Miller has traveled widely in Europe, North America, Asia Pacific and the Middle East to deliver keynotes and teach workshops at women’s leadership conferences, women’s professional associations and Fortune 1000 corporate women’s initiatives. Miller is founding editor of BeLeaderly.com.