Many of us like the idea of being a mentor—of sharing our wisdom and helping other women on their way. We asked Tina McIntosh, 2018 Mentor of the Year at the Women in Travel Awards, now an Executive Search Specialist at Perceptor, to share her advice on how to help make the relationship rewarding, helpful and mutually beneficial for both parties.
Take a 360-Degree Approach
I request that my mentees work on their personal goals alongside their professional goals because my leadership philosophy centers around individuals and their dreams as well as core business KPIs. In my five years working at the travel company Busabout, there were four babies born, eight weddings, four house purchases and over 10 promotions. I list all of these events as achievements. If an individual is happy and fulfilled in their personal life then they will be able to perform at a high level in the workplace. This takes on an even bigger significance if you’re mentoring within your own workplace.
Remember It's Reciprocal
I worked in executive roles at MTV and Nickelodeon and I believe in harnessing the energy and creativity of young people. They can be more open-minded in problem solving and they’re often far more digitally savvy than those of us in more senior positions. There’s a lot to learn about how they use and adapt to technology. Ask your mentee what’s on-trend. They’ll certainly tell you when something is “over” or “uncool”. Hearing about what apps they’re using, how they like to spend their time on and offline—essentially tapping into youth culture—is helpful in every business.
I tend to see the potential in people before they see it themselves and then my role is to gently encourage them to step forward and say yes to opportunities that come their way. A lot of the time women are not as confident as men and I have a lot of empathy for young women in particular due to my own experiences in the workplace over the years. I see my younger self in their eyes and I always try to walk in their shoes when mentoring them. I work at their own pace while showing them new possibilities and avenues for their skills. Sometimes it takes years to convince someone of their own ability.
Mentor Across Industries
Having a mentee in another (or adjacent) industry is a great way to keep abreast of what’s going on in other sectors and gain a different perspective.
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