I am asked on numerous occasions to respond to questions regarding mentoring, mentoring process and how mentoring can bring value to individuals and/or organizations. Here are some of those questions and my responses.
Q: Is buying mentorship worth it in 2019?
A: I agree with Wesley in that you need to make the decision whether you want to invest in yourself or not. A mentor can’t answer that for you. You obviously would have some options. A session by session option works for you from not having to commit to the long term but makes it really difficult to develop a trusting relationship which is a foundational element for successful mentoring relationships/arrangements. Purchasing a package of time is another option that would work for both you and the mentor. The mentor can commit to a strategy over a fixed period of time versus a commitment session by session.
You can think about the frequency of the mentor sessions and determine if access to your mentor is available in between the scheduled sessions. As part of my service offering I usually provide access to me in between sessions in case something comes up that is better dealt with immediately. Technology will become your best friend in reaching out to your mentor.
Finally you need to ask yourself one question, “Can you afford not to?”
Q: Have you ever mentored a software engineer intern? If so what was your process?
A: I have mentored people in the IT industry including software engineers. The process that I use varies very little between functions and industries. During the expectation discussion of what the mentor and mentee are each looking for I would determine the intern’s need for mentoring and then go from there. What I have found in the majority of my mentoring practice is that mentoring relationships/arrangements are a blend of personal and professional. If we do not address the personal challenges then we will likely have roadblocks and barriers to contend with.
The mentoring process is all about asking questions and that is what I would be doing in this case. I want to learn about the intern, their job, the organization and from there ask questions that stimulate critical thinking. We would work on creating a safe environment for the relationship/arrangement to grow and the building of a trusted relationship.
If you have more questions please feel free to reach out to me.
Q: Is having a mentor really important in order to advance my career?
A: I agree with what Sarah had said. This is a question that only you can truly answer. Understanding what the mentoring process is all about and what the benefits are will help you answer your question.
Think of mentoring as a two way trusted relationship where both the mentor and mentee will learn and grow on a personal and professional basis. The relationship must be two way, must be based on respect and trust and must be developed and nurtured in a safe environment.
I would recommend that you do some Google searches on the benefits of mentoring on a personal basis and on a professional basis. Inside all of that information lies the answer to your question. For me, the answer is simply, “Can you afford not to?”
Q: Have you considered using an Executive Coach? Why or why not?
A: I would add one more question to the mix and that is, “have you considered using an executive mentor?” Why or why not.
Executive mentoring is a growing practice. I have been interviewed by a proposed client along with some executive coaches and was selected to provide executive mentoring services. It was all about fit for the person and the value that he/she would receive from me. I am working with executives remotely and face to face on a global stage and it all comes back to understanding what your need is and how is that best served - executive coaching or executive mentoring.
Understanding the difference between the two is important and understanding what the outcomes are that you are looking for are key points that you need to address before securing any of these services. You need to make sure that you are going to get the value that you expect.
Q: Can a person be a good leader and a good mentor both at the same time?
A: The short answer is YES you can be a good leader and good mentor at the same time.
Let me qualify that a little bit more for you. When you look at the skill sets required for great leaders and you compare them to the skill sets required to be a great mentor they are very similar if not identical. In one of the leadership and mentoring presentations that I do on transformational leadership and mentoring I compare the two functions. They are for the most part identical. When you look at servant leadership the skill sets are similar as well.
When you look at Jim Collins’s book Good to Great you see the five levels of leadership. Mentoring has three - mentor, great mentor, and extraordinary mentor.
A great leader is a great mentor and a great mentor is a great leader.