Who’s your mentor?

Dorie Clark | WomenAdvance.comI’ve been revisiting Dorie Clark‘s terrific book, Reinventing You: Define Your Brand; Imagine Your Future. As you might consider doing, as well, if you’re serious about advancing your career — whether that means moving up the ranks or making a pivot.

Last time, I focused on Clark’s system of personal branding. This go-around, I was particularly taken by Clark’s top tips about mentorship, which I don’t think she’ll mind if I share with you. It’s a terrific way for you to strategize, and effectively nurture, a mentoring relationship. If you don’t already have a mentor, maybe it’s time! From Clark:

  • Think about the skills you’d like to develop and the person you’d like to become. Who In your life embodies that? Would she be open to advising you?
  • Look for a mentor who’s focused on helping you achieve your goals, not pushing his own agenda. And be sure he’s willing to make time for you. You don’t want a mentor who makes you feel as if you’re imposing on his time.

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  • Recognize that you may not end up with a single mentor who imparts all the necessary wisdom to you. Instead, you may need to think broadly about a group of people you can tap for different kinds of advice.
  • Sometimes a great mentor may come in an unusual package — a younger colleague, a querulous boss. Keep an open mind and learn what she has to teach you.
  • You have to take an active role in shaping your mentorship experience. Don’t expect wisdom to simply be delivered from on high; you have to think about what you want to learn and ask good questions.
  • Be thankful and make yourself useful. Not sure what you can give back to your mentor? Think harder. It could be assistance on a project, advising her kids about colleges, boosting his profile on social media, or helping out with grunt work — whatever would help the most.


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