Mentoring can benefit women in particular
Debbie Forster, chief executive, Tech Talent Charter
All women are, of course, different and have a range of strengths, weaknesses and aspirations, but certain threads tend to come through: a lack of self-confidence, imposter syndrome, fear of failure and a hesitancy in going for a promotion or new job.
So while mentoring is good for men and women, it can particularly benefit the latter, because it helps to build their confidence and enables them to see their careers more objectively.
Too often, women lack the confidence to ask for mentoring or
worry that it will make them look weak. More firms need to build it into their processes, to make it the norm within the workplace and to encourage more women and men to become mentors.
My tips for mentees
Take some time to clarify what you want to learn, discuss or work on. It’s also important to do research about potential mentors and be specific about what benefits you would bring, as well as what you can learn.
Don’t feel like you should only seek out female mentors; having a male mentor can offer some great counter viewpoints and insights.
Mentors make better leaders
Rebekah Wallis, people and corporate responsibility director,
The more that you mentor, the better you become. I’ve personally developed my listening, perspective, self-knowledge, compassion and courage, all wrapped up with integrity and trust – and all of which enable you to be a better leader in your own right.
Mentoring helps many women overcome their own self-limiting beliefs and mindsets, which can hinder them in aspiring to reach senior and leadership roles.
It helps them to build trust in themselves – who they are, what they do and how they do it – which, in turn, provides them with the confidence to move out of their comfort zone and strive to achieve their true potential.
Structured mentoring programmes, with support and learning for both mentors and mentees, provide the perfect scenario for full-scale change within businesses.
My tips for mentees
Proactively manage the relationship by booking a series of
monthly or weekly meetings in advance to fit in with diaries.
Be prepared for each meeting with topics and short or long-term objectives.
It challenges and inspires people
Michaela Jeffery-Morrison, co-founder, Women in Technology
Mentorship is a two-way exchange. I find it extremely rewarding to impart my knowledge to my fellow producers, but it also reminds me how much I know, where my gaps are, and it gives me more confidence in my own skills.
Mentoring programmes should demonstrate practical and tangible results.
For example, what do the mentees and mentors share during their formal meetings? What are the key learning points? How do they change or mature through the development of the relationship? What’s the impact within the organisation?
Successful mentorship programmes should operate in a way that seeks answers to all of these questions.
I’ve found people’s biggest limitations to be the restrictions that
they put upon themselves; so few people realise just how much they can achieve if they put their mind to it.
It’s vital to challenge and inspire people so that they can see just how much they’re capable of.
It helps to tackle some key workplace issues
Lynne Chambers, group head of talent, London Stock Exchange
There are three common themes that tend to run through mentoring conversations.
The first is building confidence, because many women whom I’ve mentored undervalue their capabilities. So I spend time working with them to list their achievements, skills and capabilities, and then reinforcing their strengths to build on those for the future.
The second is career navigation in a male environment.
I’ve always advocated that women be aware of their personal brand, what they bring to the role, how they want to be perceived by others, and the power of building networks, which can be more important for success than skills and knowledge.
Last but not least is juggling work and home life. This has improved over time as flexible working is more widely accepted, but I do advise establishing clear boundaries between work and home – having strong support in both places are critical to success.
My tips for mentees
Be prepared to ask your mentor challenging questions. Some of the best relationships that I’ve had are those in which the mentee pushes me to think through things in a totally different way.
Small Business Connect
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