As they settled in for a meeting with their mortgage broker, Jane and Matt Johnson*…
It seems that, regardless of your age or position, finding a mentor can be something of a scary prospect.
Whether it’s the fear your dream mentor will say ‘no thanks’, or that approaching someone outside of your work circle can feel uncomfortable, lack of knowledge about mentorships (or just not knowing where to start) can keep professional relationships from flourishing. But according to Amanda McIntyre, Partner at PwC, approaching a potential mentor shouldn’t be awkward at all.
“We fail to see that mentors are people just like us and that they’re flattered to be asked to help someone in their career,” she says.
“Put yourself in their shoes—people always say ‘oh gee, that person’s really busy, they have a big job’…[but] most people are flattered. That should take away some of the ‘that’s scary’ or ‘I’m imposing on this individual’.”
In fact, Amanda says that connecting with your ideal mentors might be easier than you might think—once you have the right tools. It’s these tools that Amanda will be focusing on in her Creating Successful Mentorships and Menteeships seminar at YWCA Canberra’s She Leads Conference on 1 August.
After exploring how mentorships and menteeships can have a profound impact on us both professionally and personally, Amanda will delve into how to find and connect with your ideal mentor and your obligations once you’ve successfully landed your dream professional connection.
For Amanda personally, mentoring has allowed her to enrich her career, which has spanned both the private and public sector in roles such as head of the Office for Women at PM&C.
“[Mentorships] have been a critical foundation for me, being able to progress a career and certainly to be able to work on key development areas as I’ve gone through my career,” she explains. But if you’re worried as to how to find the perfect mentor, Amanda has some words of wisdom.
“Be really clear about why you’re approaching that particular individual as opposed to someone else. What is it that you admire about them? Make sure you have clarity around why this person is going to be able to help you and why you want to work with them.”
“If somebody comes to you and says ‘the way you run meetings is fantastic…will you mentor me around that?’, most people are really flattered that someone has pointed out something they think is outstanding and most people will be willing to help you with that.”
Of course, in some workplaces it might be hard to find someone suitable. But Amanda says that mentors don’t necessarily need to be in the same industry as you.
“I think often someone from a different field with a different perspective can be incredibly valuable. You should change mentors as your development needs change, too.
“It might be someone in your field if you’re looking to learn [about] a particular aspect that you think is going to further your career, but it might also be a general skill [where] you’ve looked across fields and seen somebody who has that skill or experience. A mixture of both can be really valuable.”
Already ahead in your career? Amanda adds that mentors don’t even need to be older, or more advanced in their careers. Sometimes all you need is a fresh perspective.
“[A mentor] could also be someone more junior than you,” she explains. “I currently participate in what we call ‘a reverse mentorship’ with somebody junior in my organisation (PwC), who mentors me and gives me a different lens on the organisation and my leadership style. So, I don’t think they do need to be older or more senior than you.”
Interested in learning more about mentorships and menteeships? Tickets are now on sale for YWCA Canberra’s She Leads Conference 2018 where in addition to Amanda’s seminar, you’ll hear from inspiring women such as Meshel Laurie, Jamila Rizvi, Nas Campanella and Dr Jessa Rogers.
Want to know more? Click here.
What: The 2018 YWCA She Leads Conference
When: Wednesday 1 August from 8.30 am–5 pm
Where: Rex Hotel, 150 Northbourne Ave, Braddon
HerCanberra is a proud media partner of YWCA Canberra’s 2018 She Leads Conference.