Mentoring is a two-way street. Consider what you want out of a mentoring relationship by conducting a 360 feedback audit and clarifying hopes, dreams, and goals before connecting with a mentor.
- Think back to the last interview or professional event that went really well for you. Tap into that good feeling for a moment. Chances are the reason you performed so well is because you prepared well. Preparation is the key to most successful interactions. And it is especially true for mentoring. In this video, I will help you clarify what you want from a mentoring relationship by applying three techniques.
The first step is to develop your self-awareness. One approach to build self awareness is to conduct a 360-degree personal audit. This is my spin on the 360-degree performance appraisal. Often organizations have their managers complete a 360-degree performance appraisal in which they get evaluated from their subordinates, peers, bosses, and customers. This audit is about reflecting on how others see you in terms of strengths and weaknesses.
For example, several semesters ago, I received feedback from my students that they wanted me to incorporate more technology into the classroom. So, I got myself a technology curriculum mentor and made these changes. The second recommended technique is to write goals. Determine what your hopes, dreams, and goals are for the next six months to five years. Consider various areas of your life, like academic, intellectual, health, social, professional, financial, spiritual, or anything else that speaks to you.
Being able to get clear on how a mentor can help you meet your goals will lead you to the right mentor. For example, several years ago, I was a beach bootcamp groupie. However, I kept injuring myself, and my doctor said to me, maybe you should try swimming instead. At that point, I could barely swim a lap. But I took swimming lessons and found a swim mentor. She inspires me so much, and who knows? Next year, you might just see me out in the ocean with my mentor swimming in a peer to peer competition.
I have included a goal setting reflection in the exercise files. The third technique is to visualize your ideal mentor. Let me lead you through this exercise. Get cozy and comfortable, and maybe even close your eyes. Take a breath, and allow any images or thoughts to come into your mind. You may want to replay this several times. Think about where does your ideal mentor work? What type of industry or organization? Think about connecting with your mentor.
Is it over coffee, email, a networking event? How you feel when you connect with your mentor? Imagine a typical conversation. In what ways does your mentor help you? What skills will you learn from your mentor? What new accomplishments will you have achieved as a result of this relationship? What does your ideal mentor look like? Any specific people come to mind? Now go ahead and write some notes down.
If you got stuck, or did not have an answer to these questions, don't worry. A lot of times the answers come in gradually through the day or it gets clearer the more times you work through this exercise. Clarity is a process. If you keep taking action steps like these, it will become obvious who to approach for your mentor.