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Mentorship: The Tech Tea with Kimberly

I have been asked what do I think of mentorship. Honestly, I have mixed feelings based on MY experiences only.


I think it is great to have a person or persons that are willing to help you navigate through your career and to offer sound advice. It is nice to have someone to contact when you need to bounce a few ideas around. It is extremely helpful to know someone that has walked your path and can give you insight from their experiences. Last, but definitely not least, mentors are essential to helping you with networking and making connections to propel your career.


See, I think there are some great things about mentorship.


Here is the but...


Some people that raise their hands to mentor really should put their hand down. Not all mentors know how to really help, they are just good at pushing their opinion on others. They are big on telling mentees to listen, but are rarely seen taking their on advice. They mentor based on shallow relationship building tactics and just use it as a mode of control.


Here are some examples that I have encountered up close:

  1. Someone advices you about professional relationship building, but a large majority of people think this person is rude and doesn't take time to know the people around them.

  2. A person advices you about your career path but is always changing jobs.

  3. Someone is coaching you on emotional intelligence but loses their cool openly in many situations.

See what I'm saying...mentoring ain't for everyone, but I do think everyone should be a willing mentee.


This statement from this article is probably why I don't mentor much:

"Mentoring is one of the most challenging and valuable relationships you can enter into, from either side."


Mentoring is definitely challenging and I applaud anyone that has dedicated themselves to it. I think I probably mentor indirectly, but honestly I still need my own mentors.


As a new division leader I think it would have been cool to partner up with another human in the governmental space to mentor me, but what I find is that is not what generally happens. We take these roles because people know we are passionate and will work hard with no internal guidance. Then they sit back, ridicule and possibly root for you to fail.


I'm thankful to have people outside of the organization to guide me and who actually listen.


I got a real taste of positive corporate mentorship when I worked of a large company in Georgia. After one year I had a meeting with my manager and she asked me what career path I wanted to take. I could choose hands on technical growth or a leadership path. I choose a leadership back in 1998. She started allowing me to be exposed to leadership meetings and decision making opportunities. She embodied a true mentor.


To this day I try to give my managers what I think they need to succeed in their roles. If a new manager is having difficulty leading a team of their former colleagues, I recommend a class. If a manager is struggling with managing a person that actually applied for their role but did not get it, I try to find resources to assist them with the challenges. I take an interest in what my mangers are experiencing and try to coach, advise, or find whatever I can to assist.


I am honest also about what I am working on. A lot of people act like they are perfect so that makes them fit to mentor someone. Well, I am not...sometimes people get on my nerves, I don't have a poker face, and I am often direct (I will just answer "yes" instead of writing five paragraphs to say the same "yes"). I am always studying how to do this leadership thing better.


I privately wish Roz Brewer, CEO of Walgreen Boots Alliance, would just take me under her wings.


Overall, I am saying mentorship is great with the right mentor. If you are looking for a mentor or looking to be a mentor, consider the following:



  1. Investment in education and growth

  2. Willingness to connect and network

  3. Availability to devote time

  4. Active listening skills

  5. Feedback capabilities

  6. Honesty and integrity

  7. Positive outlook

  8. Confidence and ability to motivate

  9. Industry knowledge

  10. Resilience and adaptability


What are your thoughts on mentorship?


Do you know who can hook me up with Roz Brewer?













Additionally, I know six people looking for a mentor. If interested, leave a comment and I will make the connection.

 

This post is worthy of a tea of the week: Matcha







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2 Comments


Cynthia Moran
Cynthia Moran
Jul 27, 2021

I think a lot of people equate mentor with supporter so they volunteer to be a cheerleader when mentorship is so much more.

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I appreciate what you said Kimberly. I am personally a great volunteer and 2 years ago volunteered to be a mentor for a young woman preparing for college. I had made it clear that I personally had never had the opportunity to go to college but I was willing to help. I did it for one year and when I started the 2nd year I quickly realized I was not cut out for this particular opportunity. It was humbling to admit I was not prepared for the job but I would have done this young lady a disservice had I not stepped back.

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