Mentoring is about building a relationship. This would presumably be done in person, however, as an ex-mentee Michaela confirms, a successful mentoring relationship can be built online, too. Michaela shares her experience with remote mentoring and gives useful tips to anyone who is considering getting a mentor.
Michaela lives in London and works as a senior account manager for a startup marketing agency. She studied marketing, advertising and PR at the UK-based University of Worcester and chose to follow her passion after studies. Although satisfied with the industry, she wanted to find ways to grow within her current role and develop new valuable skills. Her mentor, Hana Habermannova, CEO at PPC Bee, who is currently based in Prague, guided her on this journey to a successful career progression and finding her passion.
Femme Palette came into picture thanks to one of the co-founder’s Instagram, Lucie, when she shared the news about launching the platform. After a long search for a mentoring scheme, Michaela decided to join FP. The Femme Palette mentoring program was attractive because it connected Czech expats, was a good value for money and had a great network. She stayed in touch with her mentor even after the six-month-long program finished and looks forward to meeting her in person soon. All Michaela’s mentoring sessions took place online which suited not only her schedule, but also her remote location.
The marketer-by-day is now assisting with the expansion of Femme Palette abroad - to London. She is raising awareness about the platform, attracting new members and organising (now mostly online) events and meet-ups. As she admits, the British capital is always busy and everyone here is a juggler. And thus, remote mentoring was an invaluable addition not only to her career but also to her personal life. Here she shares how mentoring has changed her and what she learnt from her mentor.
What inspired you to join the FP mentoring scheme?
I was inspired by others. On social media, I was consuming a lot of success stories either of entrepreneurs or people generally successful in their careers. And without exceptions, they all had a mentor at some point in their lives. Mentors guided them on their journeys and helped them progress. Everyone seemed to have a positive experience with mentoring, and although I’m only junior in my career, I decided to give it a go. I didn’t have a business to start but believed that a mentor could add value to my life through sharing their experience and helping me accomplish my goals.
In which areas did you seek help from your mentor?
Although many employers offer a mentor in the form of a manager, who motivates you to achieve different job-related objectives, I was looking to have something separate from work. I wanted to focus not only on my career, but also on the development of my personal life. Having answered a few questions, I was matched with my mentor and started our online sessions on Hangouts. She was the perfect match!
Were you afraid of not being able to meet the mentor in person?
No, I wasn’t afraid of the online element at all. I am used to having video calls with clients at work and calling with my friends and family back home. Being abroad was never an issue. I communicate with my mentor through social media and we use Hangouts for our sessions. Although the element of body language is maintained thanks to the video, I would still love to meet my mentor in person and have an informal chat over coffee some day, when I (can) travel back to the Czech Republic. I believe that face-to-face adds another level to the conversation and creates an additional connection.
What was the biggest contribution of mentoring to your career?
First, I seeked mentoring not because of a career change, but because I wanted to become more confident (not only) at work and build some skills to help me grow within the company. Alongside my soft skills, together with my mentor I also developed a strategy for my long-term growth, both personal and professional, which she helped me navigate. With my mentor’s assistance, I was learning how to prioritise, experienced a shift in my mindset, discovered new ways of working and started identifying the future direction I wanted to take.
On a personal level, I finally started thinking long-term: financial-wise, career-wise and personal development-wise. Until I joined the Femme Palette mentoring program, I never thought about my distant future. Suddenly, I was sketching Gantt charts and developing timelines to help me decide where I want to be in thirty years. Mentoring broadened my perspective and shifted my perception of things. Since then, I carefully consider every step I take and ensure it leads towards my long-term goal.
What was the biggest challenge during the mentoring program?
London, for sure. It is an extremely busy and hectic city where everyone works extremely hard and long hours. And so, the biggest challenge was to balance my day job with completing tasks and drafting plans to present to my mentor.
It also created a personal challenge. Never before did I think about the far future, mentoring expanded my outlook beyond the short term. It felt surreal, intangible and hard, but it helped me realise what I actually want to do in life.
What would you recommend to someone considering to get a mentor?
100% DO IT! It is an investment that pays off forever.
Whether you match with someone who is a perfect fit, or you two clash, mentoring presents a great opportunity to learn from someone more senior in their field. So, be open to their advice and together explore new perspectives. Your mentor can give you useful tips and tricks for your personal and professional life and also help you increase your network.
The mentoring experience is even more valuable and measurable if you do it over an extended period of time. I could see tangible results after six months and can now see clearly the ways in which I have grown. If you are unsure about what you want to do or where you want to go next, a mentor will definitely put you back on the track!
Whether you need a little push or look for assistance with identifying your life vision, a mentor is here to help! Everyone is different and has unique preferences. That’s why Femme Palette pays great attention to matching mentors with mentees to ensure that everyone has a positive and valuable experience. Michaela used her time with the mentor to progress in her career, developed some practical skills and new qualities, and learnt to plan long-term. Moreover, she really clicked with her mentor and found someone she aspired to become one day. She completed all her sessions remotely and couldn’t recommend it enough. Do you know what you could do today to improve your life?