Are you deciding to join a mentoring program? Or are you an existing mentee or a mentor? Whatever the case, maybe you are wondering what other people are covering in mentoring. That is why every month we decided to share a story with you of one of our mentoring pairs to give you an insight into their experience.
Just like every cake has its unique recipe, so does the mentoring journey vary for everyone. In the case of Daria, an energetic young lady and the founder of Defidu Bakery, she joined the Femme Palette mentoring program full of ambitions to elevate their family business. Thanks to her mentor Šárka, a tax expert and the CEO of the Connect Economic Group, the pastry brand is now growing into a prosperous company. And what’s more? The two ladies have formed not only a well-functioning professional relationship but also a wonderful friendship. This shows that mentoring can positively impact not only your career but also your personal life. So what did the two learn so far from each other through their mentoring sessions?
Despite Daria looking for a strong female lead who wouldn’t spend 18 hours in the office, she felt an instant connection with Šárka, describing her first impression as a beam of light coming through when she and her mentor first met, ‘simply, WOW’. Similarly, Šárka describes Daria as her ‘mirror’, and feels as if she was her ‘twin sister’. This proves that it is not the job title that defines a successful mentoring relationship, but the set of values both the mentee and the mentor possess.
Within mentoring, personal and professional levels intersect. And because Šárka and Daria share a mutual experience of working with a family member, they can find common ground in solving similar challenges despite being from two diametrically different industries (finance and foods).
The mentee was looking for support in developing her business, a way to boost her network as well as to improve her presentational skills - all the areas in which Šárka could provide superb support. But it is not all about the mentee, also the mentor can benefit hugely from the mentoring program. For example, Šárka names empathy, understanding, and inspiration as some of the key virtues she has developed thanks to being a mentor. And thus, we can see that mentoring is never a one-way street but can impact everybody who gets involved.
In the case of Daria and Šárka, they soon created a safe space where they can discuss essentially anything. But as the mentor promptly adds, ‘I try to always bring the conversation back to the SMART goals’. And what other rules there might be in mentoring? Always praise your mentee at the end of the session. That’s the best motivation. Šárka, who now works with her third Femme Palette mentee, highlights also the need to be humble. The mentor should never attempt to be superior to the mentee. Assuming the other party takes their responsibilities seriously, both sides can benefit hugely from being a part of a mentoring program.
Daria adds that determination and willingness to dedicate time to mentoring (also outside the 1-0-1s) are key. ‘You want to make the most out of it, not just to have a nice coffee chat’, the mentee adds. Preparation and self-reflection are crucial to give enough space for the new ideas to blossom. In that case, the perfect mentee will always do her homework in advance and thus leave each meeting full of new ideas and ready to conquer the next big challenge.
And what was Šárka’s favorite mentoring moment? When the delicious scent of the fresh bakery produce lingered through the office and thanks to Daria’s natural presentational skills, the pastry soon disappeared. The mentor had since ordered croissants as well as a birthday cake from Defidu Bakery, which shows that she believes not only in her mentee’s potential but also in her product. And what better appraisal could one wish for?
From a certain point, Daria started including Šárka’s name in every conversation she has (friends will forgive). And thus, if you want to deny that mentoring can be a life-changing experience, look at those two. Daria and Šárka are a living proof that mentoring has the capability not only to accelerate your career but also to create a mutually-inspiring friendship.