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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 are a great deal of challenges and traditional thinking that 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 professional advice. Despite this prevailing assumption, it’s a rare practice nowadays to see your entire career through 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 of 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. MentorCloud has been able to capture trends in mentoring—or, rather, developmental networkingand ensure that individuals are benefitting from their organization's extensive chest of wisdom. One of the more remarkable functions 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!