.title-nav-wrapper { padding: 25px 80px; }

Blog


Everything you need to know about the #powerofmentoring, powered by MentorCloud. 

Comment

Evolving Boundaries: Busting Myths About Mentorship

Today, the lines between mentoring and networking are blurring. Welcome to the world of ‘mentworking.’
— Julie Winkle Giulioni

There was a time when the word “mentor” evoked a particular image: the aged and experienced senior executive sitting down with a junior employee to impart his/her wisdom on how to take the latter’s career in the right direction. But a lot has changed in the business world over the last decade, and that image is no longer demonstrative of reality.

Business has changed, and our outlooks and perceptions about career counseling have changed along with it. People are no longer adhering to one particular industry throughout their career, or, for that matter, one particular mentor. Business practices are evolving, and so is the traditional mentor-mentee relationship. Mentoring is no longer restricted to seeking the advice of a lone wizened elder; instead, it is about building a network of people from which to draw subject matter expertise. 

This shift in the concept of mentoring does not necessarily mean that the need for career counseling has changed. Aspiring professionals face numerous twists and turns throughout their careers, and as a result, there is a great deal of challenge and traditional thinking they must wade through before reaching their goals. Though the collective concept of mentoring is transforming, many long-standing myths still prevail.

One common misconception is this idea that an individual must find one perfect mentor and retain them throughout their career in order to receive holistic career advice. Despite this prevailing assumption, it’s a rare practice nowadays to see through your entire career with just one mentor. In today’s business world, mentees work with multiple mentors throughout their careers. According to Kathy E. Kram, the R. C. Shipley Professor in Management at the Boston University School of Management and author of Mentoring at Work, this group of mentors is referred to as your “developmental network.”

Contrary to that age-old image of the senior, experienced mentor enlightening the younger, naïve mentee through his/her career, today’s mentor-mentee relationships need not be formal or long-term. After all, people change jobs and careers more often these days, and sticking to a single mentor would be unrealistic and limiting. There is also a common misconception that only young people with less experience need mentors, but that’s not true either. Everyone, including people who mentor others, need clarity and advice—the benefit of an outside perspective—when trying to reach their goals.  

Photo by NASA APPEL / Flickr

Photo by NASA APPEL / Flickr

Technology has played a big role in precipitating these changes to the traditional model of mentoring, and MentorCloud is one of the early adopters of that technology. Harnessing the same technology that moved sales to the cloud with SalesForce, MentorCloud has been able to capture trends in mentoring—or, rather, developmental networking. One of the remarkable features of our cloud-based technology is community building. By facilitating private or group conversations centered on members' interests and goals, MentorCloud helps transform your organization into a vibrant, knowledge-sharing community.

MentorCloud has not only busted the “one-mentor” myth by building a community of mentors and subject experts, but we’re also enriching learning and conversation by providing a curated set of resources that are aligned with members' interests. This content includes inspirational videos and thought-provoking articles from a diverse range of sources, as well as material shared by our members.

MentorCloud is the new face of mentoring. Step out of commonly held misconceptions about mentoring and join our network to foster meaningful collaboration within your organization and unlock the potential talent of your workforce.

Succeed in mentoring with MentorCloud

Looking to upgrade your organization to the new version of mentoring? Contact MentorCloud to gain helpful insights about sustaining success in your organization. MentorCloud allows your organization to share knowledge and wisdom openly, while enabling both small and large companies to develop their employees. 

 If this post was valuable to you, please feel free to share it across your social media channels. Also, give us your thoughts on best practices and/or your experiences with mentoring. Thank you for reading, and check back in every Monday and Thursday for original posts on the #powerofmentoring!

 

Comment

Comment

Preparing to Meet Your Mentor

Meeting your mentor for the first time can be a nerve-wracking experience. You’re both excited to meet with an expert in your field and nervous that you’ll freeze up and won’t be able to explain your career goals or why you are worthy of their time.

Relax. If you’ve taken the time to do some planning for your mentoring session, you’ll do just fine. Have you outlined some questions to ask your mentor? Prepared for possible questions he/she may ask you? Have you jotted down a description of your career goals and what you hope to gain from the mentorship?

Mentoring sessions are generally short in length, especially in the beginning. You want to make sure you are prepared and positioned to make the best use of this golden opportunity. Below are some of the basic ways in which you can prepare yourself and gain the most from your mentoring meetings:

Be on time: This should be a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many aspiring young professionals get flustered, procrastinate on preparations, and end up showing up late to a mentoring session. Remember, time is precious, and your mentor is willing to spend some of their precious time on you. It is your responsibility to show dedication and respect by being on time to the meeting.

Prepare good questions: Dedicate some time beforehand to sit down and really think about your career goals and what you want to learn from your mentor. Prepare a list of essential questions to ask your mentor, and also be sure to consider answers to questions your mentor may ask you.

Do your homework beforehand: Spend some time getting to know your mentor before you meet them. Familiarize yourself with the current happenings of his/her company: Read recent news releases; learn about the company’s history, products, and/or services; know the names of the team of individuals your mentor works alongside. You can also study your mentor’s LinkedIn profile, search his/her name on YouTube, or read their bio on the company or agency website. 

Be yourself: No doubt you want to put your best face forward when you meet with your mentor, but resist pretending to be something or someone you are not. You’ll be spending a good amount of time with your mentor, working together and getting to know each other. Any false pretenses will eventually surface, and they will ultimately harm the relationship. So just be yourself and allow your mentor to get to know who you are and what you want.

Take notes: With all your nerves and excitement, you couldn’t possibly remember everything that is discussed during the session. As long as your mentor has no objections, make sure you jot down any advice and tips you want to remember later.

Say thank you, and schedule a follow up: At the end of the session, thank your mentor for their time and advice. Then spend some time evaluating your experience. What did you learn from the session? Was it worth it? Did it clarify all your doubts? Do you feel better and more fulfilled at the end than you did at the beginning? Be sure to schedule your next session and stick to the date. You and your mentor both will be able to track your progress and the overall success of the mentorship.

Succeed in mentoring with MentorCloud

Whether you are meeting with a mentor for the very first time, or you simply want to improve the value gained from your mentorship meetings, MentorCloud can help you gain the level of preparation you need. MentorCloud allows your organization to share knowledge and wisdom openly, while enabling both small and large companies to develop their employees. 

If this post was valuable to you, please feel free to share it across your social media channels. Also, give us your thoughts on best practices and/or your experiences with mentoring. Thank you for reading, and check back in every Monday and Thursday for original posts on the #powerofmentoring!

Comment

Comment

Mentoring Tips to Manage Success

Everyone enjoys the taste of success. After all the time, money, and effort invested in starting a business, entrepreneurs especially deserve a healthy dose of success. But what do you do once you’ve achieved success? How do you stay successful? Many entrepreneurs find it difficult to deal with success and the pressures that come with it. Pressure can come from all sorts of places: the need to maintain success, envy from peers or friends, or the fear of failing and losing everything. After much planning and struggling, you will achieve success in your career, but how do you manage it once you have it?

Success elevates you to the next level, which can be gratifying and exhilarating. But it can also mean more responsibility in the form of an increased workload and more demand from your clients. Managing success is not easy. If you want to keep the momentum going, you need to design a strategy for the future, a strategy that will ensure you continue to reach milestones and grow in your career. 

Learn From Success and Failure

Success is not just a destination; it is a cyclic process of learning and applying. With each success you achieve, think about the lessons you learned from it. Likewise, along the road to success, you will experience failures that will offer lessons to be learned. Bill Gates said, “It is fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” While our successes teach us what we did right and what we might want to continue doing, our failures teach us what we did wrong and how we’ll do it better next time. Learning is a continuous process, so we must continue to heed the lessons from both our successes and our failures.  

Face the Pressure with Courage

While riding the high of success, you’ll forget about the worries you faced along the way. But success comes with a whole different bundle of worries, and requires a whole different bundle of courage. Opportunities will come your way that will force hard decisions, and you’ll need to have the courage to handle the pressure. You worked hard to get to where you are, and you may have to work even harder to get to the next level. Take the realistic opportunities you are faced with and ensure that your success is sustained.

Prepare for Future Success

Once you reach success, take some time to prepare for future success. You’re established in your career now, but that doesn’t mean it’s the end; it’s just the beginning. You want to improve your environment as you grow with your success. Decide if there is anything that could be simplified or automated. Reduce time consumption and improve processes. All of this will help to relieve the pressures facing a newly successful enterprise, helping it to run smoothly. This is the stage for planning and setting your long-term goals.

Succeed in mentoring with MentorCloud

Looking for more mentoring tips? Contact MentorCloud to gain helpful insights about sustaining success in your organization. MentorCloud allows your organization to share knowledge and wisdom openly, while enabling both small and large companies to develop their employees. 

 If this post was valuable to you, please feel free to share it across your social media channels. Also, give us your thoughts on best practices and/or your experiences with mentoring. Thank you for reading, and check back in every Monday and Thursday for original posts on the #powerofmentoring!

Comment

Comment

Mentoring Leaders: Growing Talent From Within

There is a heated debate going on regarding the question of leadership. There are some who will tell you that the ability to lead is an innate quality, born into a man or woman and cultivated through the years. But there are others who will argue that this notion of a born leader is one of the greatest delusions ever concocted by man.

 So which is it? Are leaders born or made? While the verdict is still out in that department, there is no doubt that effective mentorship can go a long way towards growing a successful leader, regardless of whether their skills are inherent or learned.

No matter how you look at it, the skills that make up a great leader are ones that must be honed and nurtured, preferably over a long period of time. Leaders should be developed early on, at a young age, and fostered within an organization. Mentorship is a proven method for both growing and guiding these young leaders, equipping them with the knowledge and skills they need to excel and pointing them in the direction of success.

Throughout history, some of the most prominent leaders have attributed their success to mentors. Bill Gates had a mentor in Dr. Ed Roberts, president of Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS). Mining magnate Robert Friedland has been credited for recognizing the spark of genius in Steve Jobs back when Jobs was still in college. And finally, Warren Buffet, who is still ranked as one of the world’s wealthiest and most influential people, owes a great deal of his success to his professor at Columbia Business School, Benjamin Graham.

These are just three of the most well known examples. Undoubtedly, if you were to study the lives of other great leaders, you’d find great mentors nearby. The evidence is clear: whether you were born or made, if you are destined to become a great leader, you will get there with the help of skilled mentoring. The reason behind this connection is no great mystery; when you spend time with an expert, someone who possesses great knowledge or experience in a particular domain, you are able to observe, reflect on, and absorb information to constantly improve your career.

 In many organizations as of late, there has been an increased emphasis on mentoring programs. What’s the reason behind the increased focus? Today, organizations rate leadership skills as the most important competence for employees. The challenge for these organizations is to create and retain great leaders. Unlike traditional training programs, which are often expensive and time consuming, and don’t always yield the desired results, mentoring programs have been proven a more cost-efficient and reliable alternative for developing leaders.

In addition to taking on mentors, professionals who have benefited from mentoring programs in their own careers should take the time to pay it forward by becoming mentors themselves. Their direction and support could be the one factor that determines the next great leader. 

Succeed in mentoring with MentorCloud

Do you want to grow more leaders within your organization? Contact MentorCloud for help identifying employees with potential and learn how to match them with the right mentors. MentorCloud allows your organization to share knowledge and wisdom openly, while enabling both small and large companies to develop their employees. 

 If this post was valuable to you, please feel free to share it across your social media channels. Also, give us your thoughts on best practices and/or your experiences with mentoring. Thank you for reading, and check back in every Monday and Thursday for original posts on the #powerofmentoring!

Comment

Comment

Boosting Organizational Behavior Through Mentoring

Every successful organization knows the importance of embedding a strong mentoring program into organizational behavior. It’s one of the fundamental building blocks of a successful business. A healthy OB will keep the business thriving. However, there are several issues that can hinder the team’s OB and leave the team leader or manager stranded in unchartered territories. This is where a mentor, someone who’s encountered these same issues and solved them, comes in handy.

To begin with, the issues facing middle level and upper middle level OB cultures are quite universal across most organizations. The issues are:

a.          Unsatisfactory performance reviews

b.         Biased project delegation

c.          Unfulfilled monetary rewards

d.         Lack of opportunities

e.          No scope to improve skills

f.           Not assigned job/industry-related tasks

g.          Work overload

h.         Unfair promotion practices

These issues can persist for months or even years, simply because no one knows how to address them. Such an environment leaves employees unhappy and unfulfilled, and many of them will ultimately choose to leave the organization.

That’s why mentors are so important. Experienced mentors can help managers tackle these issues, thereby improving organizational behavior and strengthening the overall organization in the process.

Besides helping to manage issues, there are three additional ways in which mentors can improve OB:

1.     Fostering career development: Business growth runs parallel to employee career growth. An organization cannot grow if its employees do not grow with it. A mentor can help an organization manage employee expectations by analyzing career growth for all employees. By learning to foster career development, managers are better able to target project delegation, increase engagement, and improve performance.

2.     Breaking the “junior-level” wall: Most managers aren’t even aware that many junior level employees struggle with an inferiority complex that hinders them from finding the confidence to voice their problems to their managers. The result is a junior level manager who feels isolated, irritated, and depressed. An experienced mentor can help managers identify this issue, and equip them with the skills they need to help employees build their confidence and become more assertive.

3.     Creating a transparent OB: Too many OB cultures maintain a closed, secretive environment that does not foster collaboration and teamwork. Communication suffers, and rather than working as a team, employees are disconnected and end up working as individuals.  Often times, managers are too close to the situation and can’t see what’s happening right in front of them. But a mentor has the advantage of observing the situation from the outside. They can provide the vantage point needed to close the gaps in communication, increase transparency, and bring the team back together.

There is no arguing that mentoring is an important part of a successful OB culture. The executives, managers, and employees who make up an organization are human, so it’s no surprise that interactions often result in friction. Ensuring that things run smoothly, that employees are happy and productive, and that the organization is growing, are not easy tasks for managers to accomplish. Mentors can provide guidance and perspective, acting as support pillars to keep the roof of the business tall and strong. A healthy OB is fundamental to a successful business, and a strong mentoring program will go a long way towards ensuring that your organization—and its employees—thrives. 

Succeed in mentoring with MentorCloud

Looking to boost your OB culture with mentoring? Contact MentorCloud to learn more about key starting points. MentorCloud allows your organization to share knowledge and wisdom openly, while enabling both small and large companies to develop their employees. 

 If this post was valuable to you, please feel free to share it across your social media channels. Also, give us your thoughts on best practices and/or your experiences with mentoring. Thank you for reading, and check back in every Monday and Thursday for original posts on the #powerofmentoring!

Comment