Do you have your Individual Development Plan (IDP) handy? It may be the one your employer has provided or a personal one. If it is convenient and you have time open it up now or print it off.
The IDP is a great place to list and keep track of a very important personal development tool, one that will help you develop rapidly. That tool is a mentor.
For those of you who do have a mentor, awesome! Write or type the mentor name into your IDP. For those of you who don’t, type ‘Mentor ___________’ it’s time to get one.
A mentor is someone who can help you learn and grow very quickly, not to mention the numerous secondary benefits included building your network.
Here are a few tips and tricks to the mentor process:
· The mentor should be relevant. By this I mean that he or she should provide value and input and align to your development and career plans. More often, a mentor is someone who can help you build on a strength or work on a weaknesses, which is why the IDP plan is the perfect reminder spot to list the mentor.
· A mentor is not forever. In fact, it can be just for a few sessions. The typical time frame is one year, and you should look to agree to this when you first meet with your mentor.
· There is no set frequency on how often you should catch-up with your mentor, and I usually recommend every six weeks. You should agree to timeframes when you first catch-up with your mentor. If your mentor is a busy person, make sure you get the calendar invites out very early!
· The internal versus external mentor depends on two variables: how big your company is and how specialised a mentor you need. Sometimes you do need to go external, and sometimes you don’t. If you go external, one thing to be mindful about is not divulging any company sensitive information to your mentor or having a mentor at a competitor firm.
· Make sure you always include your people leader in the ‘which mentor’ conversation they may be able to point you in the right direction or help you with the introductions.
· Most mentor catch-ups are done over coffee or in a meeting room, and every catch-up should have an agenda set prior to the meeting. If your mentor has not set an agenda, take the initiative and create one and include all of your questions!
If you still have your IDP open (or printed) have a look over your development actions and confirm your current mentor is still relevant, if you don’t have a mentor have a think about who might be good for you.
If you are a leader who has a team, particularly an inspiring team, then make sure you are actively encouraging and helping all your team members to seek out a mentor. You may wish to provide the above information to them in your next development catch-up or one-on-one.
Looking for more career and development tips and tricks? Keep an eye on my weekly blog.
Quote of the week: Personal development is a major time saver. The better you become, the less time it takes to achieve your goals. – Brian Tracy