Do you have a mentor? Perhaps you have more than one? Here, Richard Holroyd, who has been a mentor both in and out of work settings over many years, considers the potential for change in this relationship.
Nothing stays the same. Nothing ever did. Just as technology changes, the climate changes and the meaning of work changes, so do relationships. But that of Mentor and Mentee has long held steady. So is it time for change?
If you have had a mentor, the percentage chances are that you have one and that one is older and more experienced than you in your field and very likely to be familiar with your industry or profession.
But why restrict yourself to one? How about seeking 2 mentors, even 3? Different individuals offer different advice and ideas and can open up different networks. How about having one older mentor and one who is younger than you? Mentors often remark that they learn from the mentee so having a mentor younger than you offer you the possibility of learning a different perspective.
In fact, how about having a mentor who knows absolutely nothing about your industry or field of work and is therefore well-equipped to ask the unlikely or unusual question or make an ‘off the wall’ suggestion. If you are a scientist, find a mentor who is an artist and vice versa. Your may develop a more creative approach to whatever you are trying to achieve. You may find yourself drawn to a completely different field of interest.
And what about the length of the relationship? You may have built your mentoring relationships over time, having the same mentor for a year, maybe more. Why not find the right person for the role of mentor – perhaps for a few weeks only – whilst you complete a one-off project or, for example, whilst you undertake a job search.
We know the meaning of work in people’s lives is changing. Time perhaps to change the meaning of our work relationships.
If you want to read more about mentoring, you may wish to read:
The Harvard Business Review click here
Mentoring Pocketbook click here
Everyone needs a Mentor click here