Top 5 Tips for Mentorship

January is National Mentoring Month. And aside from utilizing mentoring to go full-speed ahead with New Years’ aspirations, having a mentor is just a good anytime career decision.

However, many find seeking a mentor intimidating. Many others who want to serve as a mentor may not know where to start or how to conduct such a relationship.

For this edition of Top Five, we asked communicators for advice about mentoring—whether you are the mentee or mentor. Here are our top five answers (in no particular order).

Tip #1: Find a mentor who is your opposite.

Don't look for someone like you. One of my most treasured mentors (and advocates) helps me look at situations from a different perspective, pushes me to consider unique opportunities and isn't afraid to disagree with me.

 

Tip #2: Look outside your organization for mentorship opportunities.

I highly recommend anyone looking for a mentor outside their organization become an active member of a local trade organization. For example, attend nearby PRSA or AMA chapter events and get to know the pros there. Offer to volunteer on a committee or the board and you’re sure to meet someone who can become a mentor or supportive colleague. Sometimes it’s easier be find a mentor when you omit that word “mentor” in the relationship. I used to work for Big Brothers Big Sisters and it became clear to me how heavy “mentor” seemed to be. Just befriend a professional you admire, offer your help, ask for theirs after you’ve shown some value and get the advice you need organically as you spend time together.

Tip #3: Mentors can learn just as much from mentees. 

Tip #4: Go beyond the norm to help mentees develop.

1) Invest in your mentees' passions and show them a path to obtaining their dream job - I have found young people have very specific ideas about what their dream job is. Even if their current job isn't that "ideal" role, help mentor them and showcase how the skills they are developing at their current job can be transferable to their future professional goals. Show them the synergy between what is happening now and what they want to obtain in the future. 2) Treat your mentee like an senior executive - Helping your mentee develop their executive and strategic thinking is one of the most important things you can do. Show them how to get inside the decision making curve. 3) Help your mentee develop their rolodex - In the marketing and communications field, your rolodex is incredibly important in nearly every facet of the business. Helping your mentee build their own meaningful relationships will not only help their career today but be important for years down the line.

Tip #5: Embrace all sides, not just the good stuff, in a mentorship.

Bonus Tip:

 3h When asked if you'd be open to talking to someone in communications/someone looking to enter the field of communications, even if your tie to the requester is weak, always say yes!

Nicole Schuman is senior editor for PRNEWS. Follow her @buffalogal