We are all surrounded by people in our personal and professional lives who do awesome things. Perhaps you’ve been in a meeting where the leader is able to engage everyone in the process, secure consensus, reach the desired outcomes, and everyone walks out of the room feeling good. To lead a meeting like a conductor leading an orchestra — wouldn’t you love to be supported in learning those skills at the hands of a master? Think: . Your mentor might be standing right in front of you, and he or she might be more approachable than you imagine.
Or maybe you’ve watched a colleague take a three week vacation while her business runs beautifully as she totally checks out and unhooks. You are amazed when she returns to the office and the folder of items for her attention only contains a few sheets of paper. Again, wouldn’t you love to learn the steps and processes put in place to pull that off, and then receive some support as you implement some of those processes adapted to the way you work in your own business? Think: — your savvy colleague might love to share her secrets.
With practice, you can build into your everyday workflow. The endless list of possibilities for informal mentoring experiences includes networking, building relationships with your clients, and discovering and working your niche to build your book of business.
Engaging in informal, short episodes of mentoring within your workplace can create a rich world of continuous growing, stretching, and spreading your wings. Become reflective about what you would like to add to your current work as an advisor, and be bold in asking for small episodes of mentoring from people in all arenas of your life and business.
A mentor can be a peer, a leader in your business, or a new associate who has a set of skills or knowledge that you do not have. You might also seek a mentor outside of the financial industry to grow in an area that supports your work as an advisor. Keep in mind a few key secrets to help you create lots of mentors in your life:
- Be respectful of the mentor’s time
- Be very targeted in what your desired outcome is for the mentoring experience, and
- Keep interactions focused and succinct.
Pinpoint exactly where you want your growth to occur, then ask a potential mentor for support on one topic — you will be much more likely to receive a “yes” to your mentoring request.
You may be surprised to discover that extends in more than one direction. Just as you are moving forward by receiving mentoring support, you will also move forward by mentoring others in turn. Mentoring is an experience that provides insights for both the mentor and mentee. The rewards are many and with a little strategic planning and management, informal mentoring will give you a great “return on investment” of your time. Your encore is a great time to experience mentoring in a new way.
Donna Rippley is an accredited coach and consultant specializing in strategies to support clients in retirement planning, leadership development and programs to support teams in achieving business success. She has worked in the financial, non-profit and corporate sector as well as with small business owners.
She has been seen on NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox affiliates around the country and has presented at national conferences and on a variety of panels. She has taught at the university level at several universities and was a project leader for a state task force on best practices in professional development design.