What is mentoring and what should I look for in a mentor?
My first mentor was a guiding light, a brunette version of the good witch Glenda. I had no idea what I wanted to achieve, but I knew I wanted to work in the wellness industry. She had a wicked sense of humour and I was completely in awe of her positive vibe. She probably has no idea to this day the effect she had on shaping my future decisions. Our meeting was accidental and I have always been on the lookout out for similar connections and when I find them, I make the most of those opportunities to soak up whatever they can share with me.
What to look for in a mentor
A mentor is usually someone in your field and they are not connected to your day-to-day, or work objectives, depending on what you are looking for from your mentor. The key is that they have experience, strong networks and offer unbiased perspective in decision-making.
Finding a mentor can be as easy as approaching a person you are influenced by or look up to. One way to select your good witch is to write down your criteria, and a list of all the people you believe will help you to make important decisions, and then approach them. Successful people, who have had positive influencers cheering them on in the past, are usually happy to “pay it forward”. Alternatively, organisations and wellness websites offer mentor or sponsorship programs.
The benefits of finding the right person or people are numerous and invaluable. With so many choices, taking a step in one direction can disable a person into no action, potentially missing golden opportunities. Sometimes a decision can be fraught with regret. So, how do we know what is the right step to take? This is where the wealth of experience found in a truly inspiring mentor comes into its own, shining the light of guidance like a beacon of trust.
My advice is to find a mentor who is authentic. People are much better led by example than by power and authority. Look for a mentor who has their “house in order”. They are organised, they have created a positive space for you and ask questions that build your character.
Have you considered being a mentor yourself?
If you have business experience, you might consider taking on a mentee. Having a mentee can help you improve communication and leadership skills. Mentoring is also a valuable tool in succession planning.
Mentoring your staff can improve their job satisfaction, which in turn can help you retain good people in your business.
The best you
A good mentor will be looking to support you to be the best that you can be. This may mean that some tough conversations are sometimes needed to produce change and improve your decision-making, and the environment they create will support you to fly high and feel completely confident you are not lost in the Emerald City.
“The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves” – Steven Spielberg
Mentoring is a key component of the Australasian Sustainable Wellness Academy’s wellness programs.