Looking back, I even had mentors in my school - Mount Temple. As well as tutors, who did genuinely cared, I had a teacher who saw my potential, and knew our house was always busy and that I found it hard to study at home, and he let me study in his house nearby when he wasn’t there. I did a good leaving cert and was the first in the family to go on to do a degree. Thank you Podge.
In one of my first “proper” jobs, in a bank, I had a mentor who really did go out of his way to offer guidance, support, and champion me. I don’t know why he did it, but he did, and thanks to him, I learned a lot, got a promotion, completed my MBA at a very young age (I was only 24 when I finished in 2002), and as a result was afforded many future opportunities. Thank you Joe.
Throughout my career, I have had numerous work-friendships, and professional-networked relationships that before they blossomed to friendships, provided me with many a wonderfully experienced informal mentor and ear along the way. These informal mentors (Kyla, Charley, and Celine F to name a few) helped me develop, progress, build confidence and grow. They helped shape my decisions, perhaps without even knowing. I salute you all.
A few years ago I asked Colin Culliton, to consider mentoring me over a few short lunchtime mentoring sessions. That was at least 2.5 maybe 3 years ago now and he still provides regular insight, advice and wisdom. I have been lucky to be able to complement this with regular coaching from Aine Maguire at Persuasion, and many super colleagues and bosses (Joyce and Michael in particular). I am so grateful for all of these inputs.
Mentoring is a crucial part of development, that is why it is offered by college institutions, collectives, in large corporate organisations and by various networks. It is why we have offered mentoring to lunchtime circle attendees for the past 2 years- focusing on charities and social enterprises.
It is valuable where the fit is right, when you have a seasoned mentor, who knows how to hold you to account, and help you focus and who may have had mentoring training or wonderful mentors themselves. It is why people pay good money to help with their development. It doesn’t always work though - I remembering providing mentoring about 20 years ago, when I simply didn’t know how to mentor. And honestly felt I was out of my depth.
I have learned a lot since. When this happens, or the fit isn’t right, cut your losses, and bow out quickly. There are too many potentially amazing mentors out there to waste your time listening to someone who should be listening to you and challenging you with great questions. According to this great article by Harvard Business Review, 75% of professionals want a mentor, whilst only 37% have one. As Tim Curry said, “don’t (just) dream it, be it”.
What do you think about Mentoring?
Do you have a mentor?
Would you like one?
Have a baby Yoda, everyone must. In our humble opinion!