Personal Mentoring is a relationship between two people with the goal of professional and personal development. The “mentor” is usually an experienced individual who shares knowledge, experience, and advice with a less experienced person, or “mentee.”
Personal Mentors become trusted advisers and role models – people who have “been there” and “done that.” They support and encourage their mentees by offering suggestions and knowledge, both general and specific. The goal is to help mentees improve their skills and, hopefully, advance their careers.
A mentoring partnership may be between two people within the same company, same industry, or same networking organization. However the partners come together, the relationship should be based on mutual trust and respect, and it typically offers personal and professional advantages for both parties.
Coaches, trainers, and consultants can all help you learn and grow professionally. Mentoring is a unique combination of all of these. Let’s explore some of the similarities and differences between mentoring and these other professions.
Coaches help you to explore where you are in your career, where you want to go, and how you might get there. A coach will also support you in taking action to move toward your goal.
Coaches and mentors differ in three main ways. First, a coach is generally paid, whereas your mentor will usually be making a voluntary commitment. This means that you can start working with a coach straight away, and that you can rely on them not to cancel sessions because “Something urgent’s come up”. Finding a mentor can take longer, and even when you do, your mentor may find it harder to keep space in their day for your mentoring appointment.
Second, while coaches tend to guide you in mapping out your future, mentors actually suggest several paths you might take, although the choice of where to go next remains yours
Beyond that, of course, good coaches are professionally trained and qualified, so you can rely on getting a high-quality service from them. They also bring their experience of helping other people with career and life issues similar to those that you’re facing. Trainers help you learn and develop specific skills and knowledge. They typically set the topic, the pace, the goals, and the learning method. While you will obviously choose courses that match your requirements as closely as possible, training courses, by their nature, start with their own agendas rather than with your situation. Mentoring, however, can be tailored to your needs. While training is often best suited for gaining knowledge and skills, mentoring can also help you develop personal qualities and competencies.
Career Consultants or Career Counsellors mostly work with people in transition between jobs, rather than helping you develop your skills when in a particular role. And, again, your relationship will often be a commercial one.
A trusted mentor can help you do the following:
Gain valuable advice – Mentors can offer valuable insight into what it takes to get ahead. They can be your guide and “sounding board” for ideas, helping you decide on the best course of action in difficult situations. You may learn shortcuts that help you work more effectively and avoid “reinventing the wheel.”
Develop your knowledge and skills – They can help you identify the skills and expertise you need to succeed. They may teach you what you need to know, or advise you on where to go for the information you need.
Improve your communication skills – Just like your mentor, you may also learn to communicate more effectively, which can further help you at work.
Learn new perspectives – Again, you can learn new ways of thinking from your mentor, just as your mentor can learn from you.
Build your network – Your mentor can offer an opportunity to expand your existing network of personal and professional contacts.
Advance your career – A mentor helps you stay focused and on track in your career through advice, skills development, networking, and so on.
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