Success has no gender or boundaries and is rarely the same for any two individuals. It is important that anyone engaged in a mentoring relationship understands what success means for him or her and is open and nonjudgmental about differences.
Regardless of the end point, success is about performance and a commitment to continuously improve yourself and provide
value to your organization.

Multifaceted feedback is the key to continuous improvement, personally and professionally. We learn from our own experiences and the experiences of others. I view mentoring as sharing your experiences with others and gathering insight from others.

Mentoring and coaching are important to any successful professional. Just as a professional golfer might have a swing coach, an agent and a sports psychologist, professionals in business also need a mentor network to succeed. Your mentor network should include at least four key players, each filling a specific need.

First, you should find someone above you in the corporation to expand your perspective about the company and industry. Next, you should have a close peer. Peers help you solve problems, provide direct counsel and ultimately help you get your job done. Third, select an individual outside your company. He or she will provide you with an unbiased perspective, giving you a different viewpoint on how to face an issue or overcome a challenge. And fourth, it is important to include someone in your mentor network who is junior to you. This allows you to stay connected with what’s really going on.

Mentoring is bi-directional. While these four individuals serve a purpose for you, you also serve a purpose for them. You may be the superior or the outsider your mentor is relying on. You may not think of yourself as a mentor or a coach, but you have a unique set of experiences. By sharing those experiences, you can learn from others and have a greater impact on your organization.

Your mentor network is a dynamic structure and should change over time. It should evolve as you continue to grow professionally.

Whatever path you choose, you must be true to yourself and never underestimate the importance of the roles you’ve had along the way. Each position you’ve filled defines who you are within your organization and who you’ll be as a leader.