Several years ago, I realized that I was mentoring in a different way.
When I first heard the term mentoring, I understood it to be a supportive, encouraging, one-to-one relationship. The mentor, usually older and wiser, guided the younger and less experienced individual in developing and sustaining a rewarding career.
I was fortunate to be mentored in just that way by several wonderful people. as a result, my role model for how to mentor was based on both the definition I learned and the mentoring I received.
So, I was a bit surprised to realize that i wasn’t mentoring one to one. I was mentoring one to many, and I found the dynamics to be powerful and fascinating.
I had begun to treat mentoring as the job of connecting the dots and leveraging individual strengths so my team could succeed. Because they get collective ownership of success, they also take collective responsibility for getting there. As a result, I think they have formed stronger and better bonds in order to generate better results for our clients and our shareholders.
They consult more with one another; actually, they’re mentoring peer-to-peer, not only one on one but in groups as well. They have given me a new view of the mentoring process, because at times they’re also mentoring me.
I have had passion for my work as long as i can remember. In fact, I could hardly wait to get out of school so I could get to work and begin a career! Much as I love and enjoy my job, though, I’m always alert to the multiple roles that those of us who work must play.
Career people today, both men and women, manage so many responsibilities. My husband and I, for example, both work at demanding jobs. We have two children and extended families. Many members of my team are in similar situations. I try to remind them and myself that a sense of humor and a work-life balance will take you far. It’s a critical ingredient in the mentoring and coaching we give to one another.
Thanks to my team, I see mentoring today as a dynamic, powerful exercise that engages and benefits everyone—each of them, me, and most of all, our clients.