Mentors make sense in business world
WHATEVER your industry, seniority or goals, a mentor can be the extra element that gives your career the kick it needs.
Mentors can fulfil a range of roles, from being a sounding board to resolving issues, to an endorsement when applying for promotion.
They also can serve to broaden your perspective and inspire with their own experience.
Jodi Fullarton-Healy, general counsel for international and institutional banking at ANZ, said finding a mentor does not have to be a daunting task.
"Just ask someone if you can have a coffee with them,” she said.
"You don't have to ask them out on a mentor date.
"Say 'I really admire you and think what you have done with x, y, z is great and I would love the benefit of your ideas'.
"Sometimes it's one coffee or you might say 'this has been really good, could we catch up again?'.”
Fullarton-Healy met her mentee, Salesforce solution engineer Sophie Wilson, after they sat next to each other at a Women in Banking and Finance lunch about five years ago, when they both worked for ANZ.
Fullarton-Healy asked if she could have a copy of Wilson's notes and Wilson took the opportunity to form a connection.
Wilson said their relationship grew from there.
"When I first met Jodi I was in a rather junior position and naturally really motivated and trying to move forward, so having the opportunity to speak to somebody with that experience and wisdom and knowledge of how things work was incredibly powerful,” she said.
"She helped me get my first big promotion, and more recently she has encouraged me to take some risks in my career.”
Norah Breekveldt, principal consultant of strategic leadership firm Bendelta, said many of the best mentoring relationships grow organically.
The author of Me and My Mentor: How mentoring supercharged the careers of 11 extraordinary women says there is no one way to go about it.
"It's about looking for someone you really admire and whose perspective you really value,” she said.
You can have a fabulous, formal, structured program but if you are matched with the wrong mentor it's not going to be effective.
"Find a mentor (with whom) you feel comfortable talking through your vulnerabilities as well as successes.”
Mentors do not have to be from your organisation or even your industry, and you can have more than one.
"There is no formula or recipe for success in mentoring,” Breekveldt said.