In January 2002, The Harvard Mentoring Project, MENTOR, and the Corporation for National and Community Service implanted the first National Mentoring Month. Mentoring is not only fostered and encouraged during National Mentoring Month, it is also a time to thank mentors and encourage others to take on mentoring roles.
The NYWICI Foundation understands the importance of mentoring. Since 2009, the Foundation has matched more than 130 pairs and mentors and mentees. Our mentoring program is structured to meet the needs of NYWICI members by providing flexibility for both mentor and mentee. In recognition of National Mentoring Month, a recent NYWICI Twitter chat on Jan. 13, 2015, focused on the Rewards of Mentoring. Julie Livingston, co-VP Mentoring and President, Livingston PR, a Public Relations Consultancy, spearheaded a very important dialogue about mentoring.
According to Julie Livingston, “having a mentor is a magnificent tool for career development.” And while the mentee may glean essential career growth from their mentor, both “mentor and mentee” contribute to the effectiveness of a mentoring relationship. Because mentoring relationships can vary, it is important that mentors and mentees have clear goals to maximize effectiveness. “To get the most out of mentoring, it’s advisable to create a communications structure,” says Livingston. In this age of advanced technology, mentoring is not limited to face-to-face relationships. Julie suggests mentors and mentees meet across multiple platforms including: phone or Skype – “there is no one size fits all when it comes to structuring a mentoring relationship.”
Setting goals is key for effective mentoring relationship. Below are a few benefits of goal-setting:
- It reinforces seriousness of the relationship by keeping things on track,” says Livingston
- Allows mentors/mentees to check in with each other along the way
- Provides an opportunity for collaboration and acknowledgment
- Identify mentoring needs early in the mentoring relationship
The frequency in which mentors meet with their mentees should also be established early on in the mentoring relationship. Linda Descano, NYWICI President participated in the mentoring conversation. She says, “The frequency of mentor/mentee communication depends on objective. Weekly or daily interaction may be necessary if navigating a particular issue.”
Each mentoring relationship is unique. And communication of goals, expected outcome and structure are key elements that will contribute towards effectiveness. “Mentors are positive people by definition,” says Livingston. “Mentoring allows you to give back by helping others in your area of expertise.”
This post originally appeared in NYWICi’s Aloud Blog.