Monday, August 24, 2009

Who is a mentor?

Traditionally, it has been believed that a mentor should be a senior individual, with influence in your company or industry, who is willing to open their network (and good name) to you.

This raises several assumptions:
• that a mentor is someone senior
• that a mentor is only for the particular challenges found within your industry
• that the issues you face in your career are particular to your company or industry
• that your skills and ambition lie in only one industry

There’s no right or wrong answer but part of the choices you have to make for yourself include:
• Do you want mentoring around a specific industry?
• Do you want mentoring from a different industry perspective?
• Are you comfortable looking outward for guidance as much as ‘up’? (peers can be as valuable a tool for the ambitious as a very senior person)

I strongly believe that mentoring can come from anywhere if we first understand the questions for which we are seeking answers.

Anyone can be a mentor. You can have a mentor and be a mentor at the same time - the two efforts are not exclusive!

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