Mentorship as a career development and leadership tool

Sarah, an entry-level accountant is interested in assuming a more leadership role in the long-term and her first step is to become a chartered accountant. She has done some research on her own but is still seeking further guidance, so she reaches out to Simon, an older and more experienced career professional in the workplace. Simon chooses to share his own experiences and resources with her in hopes of guiding her along the journey. 

As she continues to progress professionally their relationship grows and he becomes her accountability partner and a sounding board. She shares her successes as well as her failures and setbacks and he advises her and asks challenging questions that help her become better suited for the role of a chartered accountant. Simon even helps expand her network by bringing her into valuable spaces.

Eventually, she reaches her goal and easily acclimatizes to the role because Simon has helped her prepare. Simon became her mentor and in turn, Sarah became his mentee.

Mentorship creates more confident and knowledgeable professionals and turns them into great leaders. who better understand how to achieve their career goals. As an industry professional looking to climb the career ladder, how can you ensure a successful relationship like that of Sarah and Simon?
Mentoring builds trust and creates a safe environment for honest feedback and unbiased career development advice. As David Clutterbuck and David Megginson put it in their book Techniques for Coaching and Mentoring:

Mentoring relates primarily to the identification and nurturing of potential for the whole person. It often is a long-term relationship, where goals may change but are always set by the mentee. The mentee owns both the goals and the process. Feedback comes from within the mentee – the mentor helps them to develop insight and understanding through intrinsic observation, that is, becoming more aware of their own experiences.

In the example above Simon and Sarah formed a long term relationship geared at aiding Sarah to achieve professional goals that she had set for herself. Simon became a sounding board for advice, and granted her opportunities to network by taking her to events she wouldn’t normally have access to.

It is clear that, as a mentor, Simon was a valuable resource. How can you do the same and ensure that you provide your mentees with the best experience?:

In my HR Mentoring programme, I employ all of these techniques and as a result, I have witnessed the transformation in the quality of both the personal and professional lives of the cohorts. Now more than ever, I am driven to empower, engage, and transform lives. My goal is to help create the next generation of thought leaders and critical thinkers.
When I reflect on my career to date, I can testify to the difference that mentorship has played in my career development and in transforming me into a global leader. Whoever you are, seek mentorship, mentor those around you, and help transform the professional landscape.