When I first graduated from esthetics school, I spent countless hours researching industry giants that I thought could help me scale the beauty ladder. I would call or e-mail individuals and give them my pitch; I was willing to work hard, fetch coffee and wear batwings for that matter.
I was intent in learning how to manage my business. I wanted answers and feedback about my work. I wanted a mentor, not only to show me the ropes, but to help me build my level of experience.
Mentorship is an important part of business and personal growth, but the conditions of mentorship have changed. Take a look at the new face of mentorship.
Mentorship or Sponsorship?
In Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In (Knopf, 2013), she notes differences between mentorship and sponsorship. Mentors are people who advise; sponsors are people who will use their influence to advocate for you.
Both relationships are important, but their purposes are not the same. In either case, both are centered on professional relationships, and based on performance and potential. What do you imagine a great mentor or sponsor would do for you?
What do you Bring?
Gone are the days you can get away with completing menial tasks in exchange for advice and guidance. To stand out and be viewed as a valuable commodity today, you have to bring something to the table—performance matters.
Mentors are more willing to invest their time with individuals they know are going to deliver. They honor skills, performance and the ability to produce positive outcomes.
Mentors are more apt to remember individuals who asked thought provoking questions and offered these skills when they make recommendations for emerging opportunities.
Peers as Mentors
In years past, mentors were typically in leadership roles and rising on the corporate ladder.
Today, mentors can be your peers. Has a peer ever helped you in a difficult situation? It is not unusual for your peers to have areas of strengths that you can learn from.
In fact, learning from your peers and establishing a mentor relationship with them might be a little less tense and easier to navigate for some individuals.
Similarly, with today’s career professional having multiple ambitions, it is not unusual for an individual to have more than one mentor to help achieve and meet business goals.
A Relationship Focus
Mentorship today is built on relationships, and it is often an implied relationship rather than an overtly stated one. An owner of a spa might consistently share advice and insights with a junior level colleague without ever calling it mentorship.
Does that mean it’s not a mentor relationship—absolutely not. Avoid getting caught up in formalities; focus on the substance of the relationship.
Mentorship continues to play an important role in an individual’s career journey. It should never be minimized, because it continues to open the floodgates to opportunities and lifelong learning.