“A strong mentor/mentee relationship is the basis for forging tomorrow’s leaders.”
–Jack Welch, Chairman, General Electric(1982-2002)
Why do Women need Mentoring?
An article on MSNBC cites the importance of mentors for women who wish to progress effectively in their careers – Mentors can help women shatter glass ceiling
A key mentor for her was the managing partner in Deloitte’s Boise, Idaho, office where she worked early on in her career. “He would give me a little bit of additional confidence by standing by me and giving me that nudge to assure me I was doing the right thing,” she explains. “As I developed in my career and moved along up the ladder, I established new connections with people I felt were looking out for me.”
The lack of female role models, she adds, continues to hinder advancement for women, so women find themselves “establishing their own way and styles that work for them, and as a result, the additional reinforcement from a mentor is useful.”
One study of more than 500 executives in the health care industry found that mentors can lead to money and power.
“We discovered that women with mentors received more promotions than men,” says Anne M. Walsh, associate professor in the management department at Philadelphia’s La Salle University.
“In our study, the mentors provided access to promotional opportunities, which ultimately affected compensation,” she explains. “Mentors raised the visibility of these women in the organization, and helped them to develop the skills for these promotions. Mentors are also instrumental in providing feedback about job performance (e.g. act as a coach) and help women develop the skills that are required to compete in the job market.”
Mentoring is an effective means that helps women get the much needed promotions and to break through the glass ceiling. Women usually find it hard to compete with men especially when on the higher rungs of the corporate ladder, the upper management in most industries being male dominated at present. Through effective mentoring and support, it is possible to help raise their visibility and also learn from those women leaders who have moved beyond the glass ceiling.
How to Seek Mentoring?
The first step towards seeking mentoring is questioning yourself to your requirements and matching to the best available mentoring retarget.
- Know what you Seek – Identify your Goals and Expectations
- Matching Personality Traits between you and your Mentor
- Identify the Mentor’s Experience and Strengths
- Learn to be Receptive – to New Ideas, to Criticism, to Feedback, and more
Where to look for Mentors?
Within your Organization
Not only outside of an organization – when looking to start a new career or starting a new business, mentoring must be encouraged within the company. I strongly suggest all companies to formulate internal programs which encourage and allocate mentors to entry level and even mid-level employees. We can learn so much from those who have “already been there”, so why can’t the VPs and CEOs and other managers who have had more global exposure be mentors to those who aspire to be in their position some day? Knowledge always increases when you spread it around – so let there be mentors everywhere, in every field so that we all can learn from their stumbles and struggles which might help us to rise further and then give back to the society by being a mentor ourselves!
A Professional Mentor or Career Coach
Seek professional mentoring through a mentor coach or a career coach. Coaches and mentors help in accelerating your career growth and assist and guide you through the phases of your career development and in helping build leadership skills and in developing more self-confidence.
National organizations such as MentorNet, which offers women an online mentoring network in the science and engineering fields. MENTTIUM Corp. provides mentoring services for companies and individuals.