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Thanks for the great podcasts! I've been listening for about a month and in that time I've caught up on just about everything.

BACKGROUND:

I'm young (at 27 I think I can say that for another year or two) and new to my company. After working a few years for the College I attended and earning my MBA, I decided it was time to join a corporate environment which I did in March (this is my first forray into corporate America and the first job that could actually lead "somewhere"). At present I am managing two projects but do not have any direct reports. In the past three months I'm told my name has already come up often as a sought after individual among other team and departmental managers within the company. I'm proud of this but also concerned about a plateau in my development and having a ceiling placed on my future. I feel that mentoring is a great prescription for me.

QUESTIONS:

1) I've sent an introductory e-mail regarding mentoring to an individual whom I respect a great deal and would very much like to emulate. I've given some very general concepts of the relationship and asked that he suggest a convenient time for us to talk about details and see if we might form a montor/ee relationship of mutual benefit. The problem is in the fact that he lives and works 5 hours away, leading a different company, in a different, allbeit similar industry and has an extensive global travel schedule. He is in my area several times per year and I would be willing to make the trip to see him a time or two per year. I'm really hopeful that he'll make the investment in me.

My question really is should I also seek a mentor within my own relatively flat (only 3 levels between CEO and myself) company? Of the people who would satisfy other crieteria of a mentor, I don't know any of them well enough at this point to truly respect/admire them. And whether for one year or three tying myself to someone I don't yet know well doesn't seem to be a wise move. Should I ask some people I do know and trust/respect for referrals?

The tools and techniques you provide through Manager-Tools are tremendous. You are making a great difference already in my effectiveness.

Mark's picture

Regas-

Thanks for the background. The more data I have, the easier it is to get a sense of the situation behind the situation.

I think having a mentor at your own company, even though flat, is a good idea.

For now, though, I would stick with the one, and start making a point of meeting those in your firm who might be a mentor, and then choose after you have some sense of who they are. Being mentored by someone you don't like is not for the faint of heart.

Great post, great plan... keep us posted.

Mark

regas14's picture

Mark,

I've been able to schedule a telephone conversation with this individual who I hope to have as a mentor. The purpose of our conversation is to outline the parameters for a mentor/mentee relationship. This will allow him to consider whether this is a relationship he is willing and interested in commiting to.

In preparation for this meeting I have created an outline and am interested in your feedback keeping in mind that this individual has not yet commited to the relationship.

*********
Relationship Overview:

Duration
Frequency of Contact
Topics of Discussion

Mentee Commitment:

Flexibility
Initiate Communications
Record Objectives and Action Items
Monitor Progress
Accept Feedback

Mentor Commitment:

Relationship - Duration
Communication - Frequency
Access
Feedback

**********

If he agrees to this relationship, action items for the next meeting (hopefully face-to-face in August/September would be:

Provide a Resume
Provide a Current Job Description
Provide Performance Evaluations (I haven't yet had one in my current role)
Listen to MT Mentoring Podcast - I'll recommend it to him as well

Please share your thoughts and feedback.

Mark's picture

EXCELLENT!

Mark

regas14's picture

Well . . . it worked. I am thrilled to have formalized a mentoring relationship with someone I admire a great deal. It was no surprise to me to learn that he has in the past been a mentor and expressed a sense of reward and success from those experiences.

While he had never heard of Manager Tools (which I endorsed strongly), the formula for mentoring you prescribe is no magic potion and he was on the same page in terms of the structure and objectives of our formal mentoring relationship. We ironed out duration, frequency of contact and what background materials I will supply in launching this phase of our relationship and also discussed some broad objectives.

I couldn't be more thrilled. Having formalized this relationship and drawing on the value of Manager Tools, I am as focussed on and excited about my career and personal development plans as I have ever been.

Thanks Mark & Mike & MT Community. I'll keep you posted on the progress of this relationship.

Mark's picture

Our pleasure! Keep us posted.

It's a privilege to serve.

Mark

D's picture

I had a great conversation today with a listener of my podcast that asked me to mentor him in project management! It turns out he's an avid listener of Manager Tools podcast as well and listened to your two podcasts on Mentoring. I was very flattered and looking forward to working with him since your two podcasts were very thorough in preparing a mentee to work with a mentor. I've been in very successful mentoring relationships in the past, as a mentor and a mentee, and found mentoring to be a great tool to help focus your energies towards your goals. Any plans for releasing a podcast on how to be a great Mentor?

Mark's picture

Dina-

Yes, a cast on mentoring from the mentor side is in the works for later this year. Congrats on the request!

Mark

gomer300's picture

Hello - first time poster.

Mark has suggested I post regarding a strong mentoring program in my hometown of Vancouver, BC. The Vancouver Board of Trade ([url]http://www.boardoftrade.com[/url]) of which I am a member has an auxilliary program called Leaders of Tomorrow ([url]http://www.leadersoftomorrow.com[/url]) which pairs up young professionals in the final strokes of their education with leaders in the Board of Trade who have signed on to be mentors for 1 year.

This program provides value on a couple of fronts in that it provides the opportunity for the mentee to begin forming a network and also be in a higher-level environment than most new graduates. It also keeps the mentor's network fresh with up and coming talent they may not otherwise be introduced to through regular channels.

I would be interested to hear of any similar programs in other parts of the world and to get an idea of their successes or areas to work on.

All the best,
Dave Macdonald

crash's picture

Thanks for the great podcasts - I only recently found them but am listening my way through them. I’m not (yet) in management, but am still able to apply many of the processes you discuss.

My question about mentoring is: I telecommute from a different state than HQ. Do you see any issues with selecting a mentor who I would not be able to meet with face-to-face on a regular basis (possibly annually or semiannually)?

Kind regards,
--Crash

TomW's picture

[quote="crash"]Thanks for the great podcasts - I only recently found them but am listening my way through them. I’m not (yet) in management, but am still able to apply many of the processes you discuss.

My question about mentoring is: I telecommute from a different state than HQ. Do you see any issues with selecting a mentor who I would not be able to meet with face-to-face on a regular basis (possibly annually or semiannually)?

Kind regards,
--Crash[/quote]

If the person meets all the other requirements, someone that you admire and who has experience and wisdom in an area you need it, you could do it over the phone or over a video chat/conference.

To me, it's more about the relationship and the bond. The key though is to make sure you are paying attention on the phone. No surfing the net or paying bills at the same time!

crash's picture

Thanks, Tom! I'm going to give it a try.

Mark's picture

Sorry this took me so long.

Yes, you can be mentored over the phone. But face to face is better. Why not have two mentors? It's harder to manage, but I've done it.

Mark

crash's picture

[quote]Yes, you can be mentored over the phone. But face to face is better. Why not have two mentors? It's harder to manage, but I've done it.[/quote]

Thanks, Mark. The main reason is I don't know anybody local (Tucson) who I would want as a mentor. I guess I need to start networking. :)

In the meantime, the person I asked (an ex-co-worker and ex-manager) agreed to mentor me, but hasn't had time to commit to the first meeting yet. I did send an agenda:

Performance Evaluation Review (I included my last one)
Current Job Description Review (included, but needs revision)
Career Objectives
Specific Feedback / Goals / Action Items

I didn't put resume on it because I want to start with a meeting about my current position with implying I am job hopping (I'm not).

I appreciate the reply! I'm learning a lot from the podcasts and the forums. Keep up the great work!

~crash

Mark's picture

But gee.... that's not an agenda.

Mark

crash's picture

[quote]But gee.... that's not an agenda.[/quote]

You're right, but until I know the day/time I can't list start times. Did you mean it's not specific enough? I guess I should have said "action items for the first meeting" rather than agenda. We've already gone over the roles & responsibilities for each of us.

~crash

US_Spaniard's picture

I read through the posts and saw a lot of good ideas of how to carry out meetings with the mentor.
I need assistance to approach a mentor. He has no idea who I am but leads an area (very different from mine) that is very important to my career goals. How do I introduce myself and steer the conversation towards mentoring and ask him to do it?
Thanks

ctomasi's picture

I'd be direct about it. If he's physically close, stop by his office. If he doesn't appear to be busy, knock on the door and ask "Excuse me, Bill? Do you have a minute?"

Introduce yourself, what you do, and what you're intent is. "I've heard a lot about you and would be honored if I could take you to lunch or dinner periodically to get your insight and guidance - if you would mentor me. Here's my plan to minimize your effort and maximize the time we spend..."

Use your own words of course. Be polite, professional, and direct.

HMac's picture

Yeah, what Chuck says.

I think the key in his approach is to get to your plan as smoothly as possible, so he understands what you mean by "mentoring" and what his commitment will be. That's one of the beauties of the apporach outlined in the podcast.

-Hugh

US_Spaniard's picture

How do you sign-up for the Mentoring Podcasts? I see emails about them but do not know how to find them on the website.

HMac's picture
US_Spaniard's picture

I was recently approved to be a mentor to a Summer intern.  I don't manage others and thought sign-up would be a good opportunity to give back and also, teach / train.

What are the preparation steps to know my mentee?

He will be in an area completely unfamiliar to me.  How should I direct the relationship?

What types of opportunities should I offer?

What should my availability to him be?

US_Spaniard's picture

I was recently approved to be a mentor to a Summer intern.  I don't manage others and thought sign-up would be a good opportunity to give back and also, teach / train.

What are the preparation steps to know my mentee?

He will be in an area completely unfamiliar to me.  How should I direct the relationship?

What types of opportunities should I offer?

What should my availability to him be?

Mark's picture

Here's our cast on how to BE a mentor, as opposed to BEING mentored.

http://www.manager-tools.com/2007/09/how-to-be-an-effective-mentor-part-1-of-2

Not really sure why some folks (years ago) in this thread suggested rough ideas for how to approach someone to be your mentor, either.  My notes show that we covered that in our first cast...but maybe we weren't clear.

Mark

US_Spaniard's picture

Mark,

I did not link the link because it talked about being a manager.  It did not address my questions about being a mentor and how to handle the relationship,

What are the preparation steps to know my mentee?

He will be in an area completely unfamiliar to me.  How should I direct the relationship?

What types of opportunities should I offer?

What should my availability to him be?

Please help,

US_Spaniard

bug_girl's picture

Most of what I have is for mentoring science students, but  CUR (council on undergraduate research) has a very nice publication that you can download free here:

http://www.buffalostate.edu/undergraduateresearch/x460.xml

One of the things they cover that I like is to meet your student where they are--they won't be perfect. You have to get to know them, and how they want to be mentored. Some students want lots of supervision, some just want you to point them in a direction.

You know....like regular directs :)

Make sure they are integrated into your workplace, and if they are far from home, have some people to hang out with (other interns?).  Some intern-specific program/play time is always nice to get them to relax a little.

Here's MentorNet's advice:

"Be flexible, take the initiative, and be responsive. Have confidence that you have precious experiences to communicate, and a little bit of encouragement from you will go a long way to helping your protégé.

Remember what it was like when you were in your protégé's position. Realize that s/he may not understand many of the cultural norms and formalities of business and email interaction that you take for granted, especially in this age of text and instant messaging.

Take the initiative on discussions. Feel free to share your personal experiences, pose questions, and engage in small talk until a relevant topic for discussion emerges.

Be responsive to your protégé's questions and comments. If you do not have the time to offer a full response shortly after you receive an email message, send a short message letting her/him know you will be in contact when you have the opportunity."

Also--a plug. If you are a scientist or engineer in the govt. or industry, consider signing up for MentorNet!

http://www.mentornet.net/documents/about/programs/one_on_one.aspx

One of the longest running mentoring programs, and has tons of advice and documentation.

swinson001's picture

Hello Mark,
My name is Danielle Swinson, and I have been a listener for approximately 2 and a half years. I recently became a licensee, and I'm very proud.
I started my new role at my company since February of this year, and I have initiated lots of process improvements.
 I implemented process saving over 60000 hours to the company and have been implementing several process improvement that has contributed to cost avoidance and efficiency gained, etc.
My company started a mentorship program last year; this year, I participated and requested a VP level or above to be my mentor. 
My manager also participated, and I'm the only one who has a mentor inside my organization, and I have a great relationship with my new mentor already.
My question to you is, what should I do next week when week when I see him?  I'm responsible for scheduling our meeting and for coming with an agenda. How should I structure the meeting? How should I structure the plan?
He has an admin that I will be working with her for scheduling.
We are on the same building and same floor.

wendii's picture

Congratulations on your success!

We have a number of podcasts on mentoring/being mentored.  You can find them here: https://www.manager-tools.com/map-universe/mentors

Best regards,
 
Wendii