Why would you care about mentoring amid a global crisis?
For the same reasons as at any other time: to help you develop in a way so that you can steer your career in the right direction and make confident professional decisions. It works for the home office, too.
I have been working from home for many years now, so the first struggles are already distant memories. But for many professionals, maybe even yourself, it is a new situation to adjust to, similar to starting a new job or finding yourself at the next step of your career. And those are precisely the scenarios mentoring comes into consideration.
Yes, you can use books and courses for your development. However, a mentor is a human being who has “been there, done that.” Someone who can answer your questions and offer their perspective throughout your journey.
Mentoring is an information highway to where you want to go:
- it provides you with a steeper learning curve by sharing their insights;
- it saves you the dead ends you inevitably run into when developing yourself alone.
If you are an employer, mentoring can be a tool for your talents to reach their full potential really fast and, therefore, to create outstanding value for the company.
But the benefits go even beyond all that. Communication skills are developing on both sides. Generation gaps are closing. New networks are being built. Through the long-term support of a fellow professional, your confidence is growing. Not least because the achievements are products of hard work and not merely luck.
So how do you make it work in the first place? Let’s say your goal is to become a successful leader of a remote team — now that every one of your subordinates works from home. You can then look around in your network and search for someone, for example, in a managerial role at a tech company where remote teams have been around for a while and have best practices in place.
But it’s not only the professional qualities that count. Take time to get to know your “candidate” before you even ask for mentoring. Discuss your backgrounds, goals, communication routines, common interests. If it looks like a good match, agree on a regular consultation schedule and make sure you bring a lot of questions to your meetings! And, besides the plan, flexibility will be essential to make the most of this relationship.
If you are considering mentoring, you might also find that you need help in areas other than business. I bet many of us would now like to have someone like a health mentor to coach us through the current pandemic so that we can confidently navigate the fake news and the anxiety, adjust to new routines, and have emotional support at all times. What an invaluable contribution to societal development it would be!
written by Jóri-Molnár Anikó