Why? There are many reasons but the following three are in my view the ones that make the bigger impact and resonate with the largest number of people:
Reason #1 Safety
Mentoring enables us to explore, question and learn in a totally safe environment. Within a mentoring relationships there are no 'stupid questions', dreaming is allowed and blu-skying is encouraged. There are no other places where this is possible, particularly in a professional context, so it really is a chance to embark on a developmental journey like no other! This is particularly important and relevant to women who often feel unable to ask questions for fear of being judged weak or indeed 'stupid'. A good mentor will never judge or prevent you from envisioning all possibilities, even though some may be later discarded as unrealistic or unfeasible, the process is in itself considered valuable and one that delivers learning.
Reason #2 Confidence
Mentoring is a confidence building process. It is not a remedial activity but a developmental one. The mentor is there to encourage and support, share and at times challenge but always staying on the positive side and strengthening one's self awareness so that one can move from 'good to great'. Self-confidence is at the basis of all human achievements and there is no doubt that feeling supported and sustained by a mentor who believes in the mentee's capabilities and has no other agenda but the mentee's success can only help us in achieving it.
Reason #3 Control
With mentoring the mentee is in control. A mentor will support and a mentor will challenge and push, but only as far as he/she is allowed by the mentee. That is why I find that mentoring works so well especially for women, because women feel that they have the control of the relationship and they can develop themselves at their own pace. Because we juggle so much in life, the ability to fast forward or slow down according to the period we are in is critical to individuals and it also means that as mentee we can buy in totally into the process and into the idea and plans that are born from it as they are not imposed upon us but generated by us through the process.
So, if you still do not have a mentor I urge you to find one! If you have one, do you agree with my reasons? What else are you experiencing? As usual we encourage you to share and feedback!
Alessandra is an experienced mentor, business coach, consultant and strategist. She supports individuals - especially women - and organisations in achieving their potential through customised, outcome driven interventions . You can find out more about Alessandra here and contact her by email here.