97% of professionals believe that mentoring is an essential part of career development; however, only ⅓ of the above enroll in a mentoring program. Are you within ⅓ and already enjoy your mentorship activities? Or do you still consider whether mentoring will bring any benefits to your career journey?
For both current and future mentees, I'd like to share my story of how I became ⅓ of enrolled in the mentoring program and what helps me get the best out of this experience.
Getting started with mentoring
The first and the most crucial step for me was to answer the following questions – am I happy within my current position? Is there something I want to change within my career journey?
It helped me understand that I needed a change. I wanted to challenge myself to see what I am capable of. At this time, I was already trying to explore different areas I wanted to move into, but I felt overwhelmed by all available articles, books, and courses offered online. I needed guidance from a professional who would set me in the right direction. That was the deciding moment when I opened the application form and applied to the mentoring program by Femme Palette.
Even if it was just the first step to becoming a mentee, it was a significant step for me where I had to take some time. To get the most out of the mentor-and-mentee relationship, I had to define the area I wanted to develop in, my goals, and expectations. I understood that the better I define it during the application process, the better match I'll get with the mentor. I took my time and thought about what's truly important for me and where I'd like to see myself within my career in 1-2 years from now. And if I would be lost in defining my goals, the Femme Palette team would be there to help in the application process.
Mentee's action plan and role
After submitting my application form, it took about one week to get my mentor assigned to me. It was great to see that my mentor (Hi, Květka 😄) perfectly matched my professional goals and area I wanted to develop myself in. The next step for me was to define my action plan in detail.
Mainly my SMART goals. Even if this step could seem too technical or detailed, it was great to have it done. Why? As I approached the middle of my mentoring program, it was super easy for me to check my progress. I just needed to read through my goals and define how close I am to it.
When it came to the mentee's role – I had to understand that I was entering a professional mentoring relationship, not a random chit-chat. I had to be proactive and prepare for the meetings. Also, I let myself be open for changes, accept feedback, and get out of my comfort zone. There was a moment when the brain started to play a game with me. I was suddenly afraid of changes, thought again whether it was the right decision to start it, and wasn't sure if I was capable of achieving all these goals I defined in the first place.
I had to give myself some time – I closed my laptop and took a walk in nature (did something I enjoy). Once my energy levels were back, I thank myself for everything I have already done, encouraged myself for being bold and taking the career in my own hands. I understood that it's fine to be scared of changes, but I shouldn't let this fear stop me. I talked to my mentor to hear what she had to go through to reach her position. This gave me reassurance that I needed to be patient, take it slowly, and keep getting closer to my goals.
Progressing with mentoring – activities and best practices
To actively progress with mentoring, I scheduled regular meetings with my mentor. We started our cooperation fully remotely and after two months met face-to-face for the first time. As the coronavirus pandemic showed us, both face-to-face and remote meetings are working out.
At the end of the meeting, I would always set tasks for myself and my mentor. Also, my mentor would give me some interesting homework related to our discussions. And once the next session would come, I would prepare for it in advance. During our meetings we were discussing tech and soft skills related to the area I want to develop in, we thought how to apply the knowledge into practice, or were analysing job descriptions for positions I am interested in. No matter what the topic was, I was always using the time with my mentor to the fullest.
And I didn't forget to give myself a break. I understood that the mentoring program wouldn't make myself the best professional within one week. The development takes time, and it was essential to acknowledge everything I've achieved so far. As every day, I was, and still am, moving in the right direction, and it's already a great deal.
Right now, I'm in the middle of my mentoring program, and I'm happy to see how much I learned during these three months. And there are another three months to go. I learned new skills, completed relevant courses, and I got out of my comfort zone. Can't wait to see where this journey brings me after the 6-months mentoring program is finished!
Are you ready to take your career journey to the next level? Check out different mentoring programs offered by Femme Palette and don't hesitate to apply.