The ultimate guide to mentoring - how to find a mentor, what mentoring offers, mentor matching, how to mentor and more!
What is Professional Mentoring?
Professional mentoring is the process by which an individual - usually either a student, recent graduate or working professional - guides or is guided by another professional. Aiding career progression; mentors can offer advice, support and assistance, with prior knowledge and experience in a wide-range of topics and scenarios. Mentoring can take place both internally, in the workplace, and additionally, often, in a wider capacity with other companies, industries and sectors. Mentors are often more senior than the individuals they mentor, but this isn’t always the case. A ‘mentee’ is a commonly used term to describe an individual receiving mentoring from a mentor. Individuals can be mentored at any stage in their career too, and it is common for senior business leaders, managing directors and CEOs to receive mentoring. Professional mentoring is traditionally considered to be less formal than coaching and does not have to follow a fixed structure or course. At PushFar, we define mentoring as the act of one individual helping another. This support can be offered through the medium of meetings, phone calls, video calls, emails or messaging. The support offered can range from small and specific requests for assistance, such as dealing with a tricky or challenging situation in the workplace or can be more general support, such as the act of guidance in an industry or a role.
Who Should Be Mentored?A large majority of the most senior and successful professionals will have one or more mentors, supporting them through their career. Mentoring is by no means limited to senior professionals though. In fact, mentoring can be of benefit to individuals at any level. Often, being mentored at university and graduate level can help individuals to secure their first role and help them to develop their knowledge and understanding of an industry, company or sector Having advice from a more experienced professional can be of extreme benefit at a junior level, where there are often a lot of new challenges to face and things to learn. At PushFar, we believe that everyone can benefit from either being mentored or mentoring others – often both. The primary objectives and solutions offered on our platform are professional mentoring, mentor matching and career progression.
How Can I Find a Mentor?
Finding a mentor can be tricky but there are a few things that you can do to help increase your chances of finding a mentor. We wrote a specific article on some of the best ways to find a mentor. You can read that article here. When PushFar launches, a big part of our platform offering will be mentor matching and mentoring solutions. You will be able to find mentors and mentees through PushFar. So, make sure you click here to register your interest in our platform and be the first to know when we launch. When looking for a professional mentor or mentee, don’t be afraid to ask around, speak with your manager, talk to friends and your existing professional network. Posting a notice on social networks such as LinkedIn or Twitter, expressing your interest in finding a mentor, can be a great way to get the word out there and you never know who might see it and either respond directly or be able to recommend and refer you to someone else.
How Does Mentoring Work?
There is no set or fixed structure to professional mentoring. As mentioned earlier in our article, PushFar define mentoring as the act of one individual helping another individual. This can be in any capacity and can be as short-term as having one conversation exchange, offering advice, online or can be as long-term and in-depth as regular meetings for a longer period – such as six months or even a year. Mentor and mentee expectations should be set at the start of a mentoring relationship, by both the mentor and the mentee. Setting expectations can help both parties to decide whether they are entering into an effective, realistically achievable and beneficial relationship or whether one party has different expectations and requirements than the other is able to provide. A big part of mentor expectation setting is working out how much time commitment you can offer, as a mentor and a mentee. For professional mentors, often time is limited and valuable. So, a mentor may only be able to offer an hour’s meeting or phone call every month or quarter. Equally, a mentee might have a busy schedule and may only be able to commit to a similar agreement. Working out how often both parties should aim to meet is really important. Additionally, working out what support can be offered, what experience a mentor has and what knowledge, insight and support a mentee is looking for, is vital. Forming a mentoring relationship where the mentor does not have the knowledge that a mentee is looking for, is of no benefit to either party. However, if expectation setting is done properly at the start, mentoring can be hugely beneficial and rewarding to both parties.
What's The Difference Between Mentoring & Coaching?The biggest difference between mentoring and coaching is that mentoring tends to be considered less formal and with less structure around it. Coaching is often considered to be less flexible and has a more defined set of targets and end goals. That said, mentoring, while more flexible, can still have targets and objectives but these tend to be less measurable and more general (such as career progress).
PushFar: The World-Leading Mentoring PlatformAt PushFar, we run the world's leading mentoring platform, offering free mentoring for more than 50,000 professionals, students and entrepreneurs. We also licence our mentoring software into hundreds of organisations, globally, to support internal mentoring programs. So, whether you're looking to become a mentor, find a mentor or run a mentoring program, PushFar are here to help.