As a consulting firm that focuses primarily on technology solutions, it could be easy for us to neglect the people-side of our work. On the contrary, though, our relationships are the bedrock of our success. The way we customize our communication and solutions to every partner, the way we meet new people to work with, network with, or who may work for us– is all driven by relationship.
This is why we care about the people in our business, hoping that their personal lives and relationships thrive just as much as they do in their profession.
At Hawkins Point, we’ve been committed to learning and encouraging others in the value of mentorships. We believe they leave an incalculable, positive impact. You may have heard us speak about them before. But for many people, to define, pursue, or navigate a mentor relationship feels like uncharted waters.
So we want to simplify what a mentor relationship is, what it’s not, and some advice for building this relationship in your life.
- Mentors are people intentionally chosen because of a person’s strength or life path –whether it’s their personal or professional life– that another person wishes to imitate or learn from.
- Mentor relationships are a type of intellectual or emotional reserve account that we can draw support from during times we’re feeling less than resourceful.
- Mentors can act as cheerleaders, and provide thought-leadership rather than just specific skill training.
- Mentorships can be a primary action used to reach certain personal or professional goals.
Mentors Are Not…
- Mentors are not responsible for a person’s success. It’s just as much the responsibility of the mentee, if not more, to set goals for the relationship, ask questions, and observe all he or she can from the mentor.
- Mentors are not necessarily friends, although a long-lasting friendship could develop. A lot of times in order to reach a goal, the beginning of a mentor relationship should be focused heavily on setting goals and learning from the selected mentor, rather than mutual sharing/accountability or recreational time together.
- Mentors are not perfect people who have completely mastered a personal or professional goal for which you’re looking to them. This kind of person does not exist. If you’ve struggled to find a mentor, this mindset could be why. In fact, a humble, honest leader is the best to learn from. In order to decide the standard you’re looking for in mentor, consider a person’s experience, their network, their references (if possible), their apparent character (this is an important one) and a measure of good faith.
Steps Towards Mentorship
- To begin the process you must first be open to matching with a mentor.
- You must also establish a criteria or vision before you pursue a mentor.
- Should you meet someone you admire or someone who possesses qualities you wish to emulate, don’t be afraid to express your desire to learn and incorporate the admired qualities in your own life.
- If a more intentional conversation begins with a potential mentor, readily express your goals.
- Be practical about how you can both fit into your schedules the time and resources required to make the relationship work. Carve out dates and times. Discuss any locations or resources you may need to flesh out the mentorship.
To be honest, we actually prefer to build mentor networks rather than just a one-on-one relationship (although the latter is still a good thing) because if you are benefiting from a mentor, and finding solid footing in a career or personal goal, it’s incumbent on you to pay it forward! Find someone who is currently where you were before you started working with a mentor. Begin pouring your hard-earned knowledge into someone new, just as your mentor did for you!