A great guest post from PWA Mentoring team member & friend Karolina Wrobel.
Is Mentoring worth the effort? I had this thought some time ago while listening to a newly purchased self-development audiobook. I mean only if you think of it – is it really worth it to invest your time in a 6-month relationship, with a set of scheduled meetings, discussions and evaluations when today you can have the best career advice from the very best whenever you feel like listening. Out there on the market, you can find plenty of professionals like my audiobook mentor – that I will call John – that worked themselves up the career ladder and now, for a relatively low price, will teach you how to get there. You and generally anyone willing to listen.
Initially, the whole concept seemed to be a great idea to me. As for today however – I do have my doubts, especially that I was really struggling with the implementation of John his career boosting tips.
Let me give you an example. It all starts fairly reasonably – namely, according to John, I should get up an hour earlier each day and read something inspirational in order to keep me motivated dawn-to-dark. This sounds manageable, yet in his next chapter John goes on saying that I should dedicate an additional hour for a morning exercise so that I will stay fit and energized during my working time. OK, possibly I could still handle it if not the fact that shortly after John gives me another piece of advice to spend 30 to 60 minutes each morning reading in my field of expertise . This should really help me to advance in my career , this and the new habit of arriving at work one hour earlier in order to prepare myself for the day.
Now, I am probably not the first one out of John his listeners trying to figure out “How on earth should I do that!?” especially that John seems to be dead serious about the whole thing. But there you have it – John is a prerecorded voice only. He talks, you listen and in case of questions you’ll have to figure it out for yourself. Personally, after several failed trials, I came up to a conclusion that there’s nothing that would inspire me more for the day than additional few hours of good sleep .
Another thing is that I can listen to John whenever I want to. This sounds perfect, yet knowing that he never minds and willingly repeats all his lessons, I rarely pay attention. I skip his exercises (leave them for later) and tend to drift away after the first 10 minutes of his lecture, and if there was any time frame to our mentoring sessions I would now be light-years beyond the schedule .
In contrast to that, if you think of a person-to-person mentoring relationship, the benefits are sharp-cut. First of all, you deal with a real human being that cares about you and dedicates her time to work with you towards your personal goals. She will share her experiences and knowledge with you (we really work hard to arrive at the best possible mentor-mentee match) and in case of doubt you can always ask questions and receive answers tailored to your specific needs. Your mentor will lead you in the direction you want to go to and support you with useful tips and advice. Together, you will evaluate your progress and correct the direction if needed, and the fact that you have only 6 months to build on that knowledge will really get you into action. You don’t want to waste a chance like that!
As for the mentors – your potential payback might not be that pointed at the first sight, especially that by definition you are asked to give. On the other hand, if you once again think of John for a moment– he counts his bonus for knowledge sharing in millions of profits in sales each year. Something that we pitifully cannot guarantee in our program, nevertheless be sure that while supporting your mentee you will receive value back. Increased energy, motivation and great satisfaction or better focus on own career are only some of rewards our mentors mentioned as a payback for their invested time and effort . So how about you give it a try this year? Especially that while being a mentor you show that you’re positive about yourself and most of all – positive about the others. And this world loves positive people.