The New Way to Mentor

You’ve probably been told countless times how important it is to find a mentor early on who can help you navigate your career. The standard mentor-mentee relationship usually includes coffee catch-ups scheduled monthly that covers the expected topics. Do you feel like you’re getting the most you can out of your mentor? Are there are other important relationships to build at your firm? Are you being approached to mentor those that are junior to you?

We recently read this article that helped answer those questions and also made us rethink the way we approach mentoring.

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It’s so important to know the difference between a mentor and a sponsor and why you should have both!

I think of a mentor as someone who you can be 100% honest with and trust that they will give you sound and applicable advice. This can be a parent, a former colleague, current colleague or a friend. It’s perfectly fine to have multiple mentors that you go to for different situations. Don’t feel pressure to have your ideal mentor in your first year of work. It takes a long time for the relationship to form organically. You already have more mentors than you realize and they can be however informal or formal as you’d like.

A sponsor is someone who is usually a senior member of your team and has the ability to fight for you behind closed doors when it comes to promotions and raises within your firm. This might be your boss if you’re on a small team or it might be a manager or supervisor that is between you and your boss. It’s important to have regular conversation with them and ask them if you are on a steady upward path at your firm. It’s important that you remind them of your goals and your progress so they can manage your expectations.

The tip I’m most excited to implement immediately into my work life is the 30-5-1 initiative developed by JP Morgan Chase to support rising stars who are women. “Spend 30 minutes a week having coffee with a talented up and coming woman: Spend 5 minutes a week congratulating a female colleague on a win or success. Spend 1 minute a week talking up the woman who had that win to other colleagues around the firm.” It’s no secret that there is a significant imbalance of senior men to senior women in leadership positions in most industries. This is how we change that on the grassroots level. This is how we get those deserving women around us a seat at the table. We have to promote them with each other before they can get promoted at a higher level.

There are more tips in the article as it pertains to mentoring. Check it out and leave us a comment with your thoughts!