Mentoring: it might help you to find some balance in these uncertain times
Updated: Apr 15, 2020
As we get ready to kick off cohort 4 of the AXIS Mentoring programme, it struck me that this is absolutely the perfect time to either give or receive support in the form of mentoring… This isn’t a plug for the AXIS programme, it’s meant as a prompt for YOU to get out there and engage with others in a relevant and meaningful way at this tricky time.
But first, take a breath – and have a think about what you want to get out of either being a mentor or getting a mentor. Seriously, what do you want? Articulate it to yourself. This isn’t a ‘seems like a good idea’ moment – it’s a ‘what to do want and how do I find it?’ moment…
If you are looking for a mentor, what are your reasons? Are you looking to achieve something specific or is it more generic?
Do you want a mentor to:
- Be a sounding board?
- Provide a listening ear and support?
- Share experience and role model?
- Help with networking?
- Tutor you on something specific?
- A combination of these or something else?
And, as a mentee, what are you willing to put into the partnership to make it work?
You need to drive this partnership, so figure out what effort you will put into it before asking someone else, your mentor, to invest their time.
If you’re offering to be a mentor, consider what’s in it for you? What do you want to get out of it?
Be clear with yourself (and then with your mentee) about what you are willing and able to offer and where your boundaries end. Also – the mentor is not the sole provider and should be open to accepting inputs and feedback from others, including the mentee.
And what will you, as the mentor, want from your mentee?
The following are common expectations that mentors have of those they partner with:
- Commitment (to their own development and to the partnership)
- Open to challenge
- Diversity (of thought, perspective, approach)
- A two-way partnership based on respect.
And please remember, a mentor does NOT have to be more ‘senior’ to the mentee (in years, organisational level or any other metric of ‘senior’). Powerful partnerships happen in all sorts of guises. In fact, I would assert that the more diversity, respect and openness there is, the richer the partnership. In this VUCA* world, who doesn’t want a powerful partnership to draw strength from?
Depending on what you want from it all, there are many places to offer to be a mentor or to look for a mentor– attached is just a starter for ten in the oil, gas and energy sector.
Please offer any other ideas - let’s help each other find some really special mentoring partnerships.
The most powerful mentoring partnerships occur when both parties have trust and compassion for each other and offer each other a sense of stability in an uncertain world, holding hope and positivity for the future – all of which we could probably be doing with at this point in time.
So – think about being a mentor or mentee and get out there and grab a bit of this for yourself.
Good luck everyone – get in touch with me for any further help you might need.
Susan Gordon FCIPD, MSc, MA (Hons) Director, Leith Gordon Ltd
*VUCA – volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous
Mentoring schemes to explore:
Universities - to get a mentor or to offer mentoring
Personal and professional networks
Look in your own organisation
STEM Mentoring Schemes to explore:
NB: Though we hope you fin the list above helpful, this list is not exhausted, there are many mentoring schemes out there to suit you and your needs. Please let us know if there are any you would like us to add!