The value of mentorship is well known but research suggests over 80% of women are nervous of asking or don’t know how to ask someone to mentor them. However by shifting focus from “having a mentor” to engaging in “mentoring moments” we can quickly and easily remove the discomfort and focus on mutually beneficial relationship building.
In 2017 the Women in CILA group hosted an afternoon seminar which explored mentoring, in particular, how to create Mentoring Moments. In this article the speaker, Katherine Bryant, shares her top tips.
The search for a mentor
The second most important factor in career success, after self-promotion, is the power of your network. A good networker, builds strong relationships, attracts new opportunities and has a number of people to go to for input and advice. This is where having a mentor can be hugely beneficial.
Yet according to research 80% women and 60% men are afraid to ask or don’t know how to ask someone to mentor them. Would you offer to meet with someone you don’t know, to talk about who knows what for an unspecified amount of time & frequency? Invariably knock backs (which are actually quite reasonable given what’s being asked) hit us hard and stop us asking again.
What you are trying to achieve through mentorship?
The value of mentorship can be measured in terms of increased:
- Ideas & suggestions
- Sounding board
- Mentors can become sponsors
Can this be achieved through a different approach to mentoring?
Mentoring moments take the pressure off asking someone for their time. You are not asking for an hour each month or taking up large amounts of someone’s busy diary. Mentoring moments are snippets of advice, insight into a specific problem, at a specific time from a specific person. These are targeted at gaps you have in your skills or your knowledge and particular people who can help you fill them. It’s about asking the right question to the right person at the right time and making it easy for them to help. The benefit of mentoring moments as opposed to having just one mentor provides greater exposure, broadening your network, potentially creates multiple sponsors increasing your career opportunities. It’s quick and easy to achieve, and provides a foot in the door which may lead to an on-going relationship.
How to create mentoring moments
Here are 6 easy steps to setting up a mentoring moment:
Step 1: Know what you want
Step 2: Choose who you want to ask
Step 3: Choose your method & time well
Step 4: Ask for something small and specific
Step 5: Make it easy to say yes
Step 6: Follow up and say thank you
Mentors & sponsors are critical to success. Seek out mentoring moments and use them to build your powerful network
Make sure you also give back by mentoring others, think about the skills you have and make it easy for people to approach you for their own mentoring moments.
When we are knocked back for a promotion a mentor or a new job, we are impacted harder. A recent study of 10,000 senior UK executives found that women were much less likely to apply for a job if they had been rejected for a similar job in the past. Of course, men were also less likely to apply if they had been rejected, but the effect was much stronger for women — more than 1.5 times as strong.
For more tips and advice on how to maximise mentoring moments please click on the link for a copy of my free toolkit:
The Progress Partnership, works exclusively with risk and insurance professionals. We help brokers, insurers, loss adjusters and service providers to build and lead high-performing teams – ensuring the success and longevity of their business.
We specialise in providing tailored leadership, management and personal development training solutions based on our deep market insight & the most up to date research and psychology. What sets us apart is our unique approach based on extensive market knowledge and experience of working in the industry.
We help you achieve success with:
• A portfolio of fast paced 90 minute, ½ day and 1 day workshops ensuring engagement & that fit easily into the working day
• High energy keynote motivational talks (1 – 1.5hrs) perfect for leadership away days or conferences
• The Insurance Breakfast Club – a unique leadership development group for insurance professionals
• In person or telephone coaching sessions with expert coaches
Visit our website at www.theprogresspartnership.com
Katherine Bryant, Founder of the Progress Partnership has a career spanning over two decades in the insurance industry. A passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion, Katherine speaks regularly at industry events and is a trustee of Dress for Success, a charity helping women return to the workplace.