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JMcCumber

Great tips to help identify a mentor

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Mentor. 

What is a mentor? How do you truly identify a mentor in your life?  These are questions I found myself wondering when my current boss told me to find a mentor in the field I would most like to venture towards. As an Executive Assistant, I am privy to a lot of different activities and departments, which gives me great insight and experience to know the areas in which I excel and how that might lead me toward a certain trajectory for the future.  However, I still needed to select someone to help me with that trajectory, and ultimately (thanks to many many searches and discussions with colleagues) determined the following criteria:

1.  Seek out someone who you trust and highly value. A mentor is better suited when it is someone who is also highly experienced with many facets of the field you are pursuing.

2. This person should have a very firm understanding of the company's culture, and be willing to identify areas in which you should consider growth. They should also be able and willing to coach you through this process. 

3. A mentor should be vulnerable in the sense that they are willing to walk you through their failures and missteps to help you avoid, or greatly reduce, common mistakes.

4. Ensure the person you've selected has ample bandwidth to correspond freely with you, but do not begin the relationship by requesting too much of this person's time.  You will need to drive the correspondence, especially in the beginning.  Show that you respect their time by being prepared each session with topics or questions you would like to discuss.

What are some other characteristics you would identify with a GOOD mentor?

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This is so interesting because myself and my administrative leadership board is being asked to execute/implement a peer-to-peer partnership program. I believe that the concept and title they are thinking of does not match with the definition of a mentor.

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Renee,

I would have to agree with you, I don't know that peer-to-peer would be a true mentoring relationship. I believe a mentor could be a peer if they have experience in some other facet of life which you seek information. However, for job mentoring, it should be someone who is truly skilled and understands how to navigate the business you're in to get where you ultimately want to go. Have you pushed back on your leadership's idea at all? How did they receive it?

Jacque

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