I had a fabulous evening in Washington DC a little while ago. They are the DC chapter of a terrific group called Women Advancing Microfinance. http://www.wam-international.org
We met to talk about the importance of mentoring and how to start approaching a mentoring relationship. (We did have drinks so the topic of shoes also came up)
There were as many approaches to the mentoring relationship as there were women at the table. It was exciting.
I came away feeling really confident about:
• What are women great at doing? Building communities - personal communities that incorporate the private and the professional, the intimate and the public.
• How? By gathering family, friends and neighbours co-workers around the table and hosting a conversation. Call it the kitchen table, the conference table or the patio - we’re great at getting folks talking and sharing.
• We’re natural facilitators - giving as much as we receive. Making folks comfortable. Encouraging conversation and debate.
• The same tools that make us good as facilitators should make us natural mentors. We’re not we’re always mentoring when we gather a table.
• Let’s call this ability to gather a table: peer to peer mentoring (P2P).
• P2P simply put – it’s about creating the various tables & circles of folks with whom you share information, successes, failures and the questions.
• It’s folks of your level (social, professional – choose the designation) with whom you can debate the questions.
• It’s about what we can do for each other on a regular basis: listening, feedback, ideas, anything. It’s not just about exchanging our own skills - but helping connect others. Who knows a leadership book that’s engaging to read? Who attends a great speaker series? Where’s a great place to buy an affordable and attractive suit? (See me)
• That’s building personal community. That’s everyday mentoring. You probably do it already.
Mentoring is about expanding your community and adding to or developing someone else’s. They expanded mine in DC.