MENTORING IN THE WORKPLACE FOR WOMEN // If you’re looking for advice on mentoring in the workplace, in this video, Dr Suzanne Doyle-Morris talks you through the power of mentoring at work. Mentorship in the workplace has great advantages, and getting a mentor can give you the career advancement you deserve.
In today’s video about mentoring in the workplace, we’re focused on male mentors for female mentees. The sad truth is, professional women who have male mentors actually get more promotions and earn more money than those without.
But let’s be clear, this isn’t because men are better mentors, it’s just that men tend to be more senior. So today we’re going to focus on the 3 critical reasons you need a male mentor.
INTERESTED IN COACHING?
WATCH MY EXECUTIVE COACHING VIDEO: https://youtu.be/XT_SowEykvk
Coaching in the workplace has so many advantages - both in terms of career benefits, and in terms of personal advancements. If you’re asking yourself “what is coaching?” and “How can it help career advancement?”, then you're in the right place.
First, I want to talk to you about coaching is NOT. I'll start with a story... I recently worked with one woman, Ramona, a senior associate who said:
‘I get so much well-intentioned ‘good advice’ from others, other Partners at her firm, her stay at home friends and her own husband. It’s helpful but it’s all based on what worked for those people when they tried to get various promotions, but I don’t think their answers are going to work for me.’
Ramona was right, coaching isn’t about giving advice, you have friends and even mentors for that.
Coaching is about helping you discover and then action your own advice, based on what you value, not what someone else values.
Click the link for three simple benefits of coaching that help professional women.
Coaching and mentoring ARE different. But I advocate that you need both a coach AND mentor if you want to advance your career. These benefits are especially useful for women working in a male-dominated field, but are relevant to everyone looking to advance their careers.
First thing’s first. Let’s start with the benefits of mentoring in the workplace.
1. Internal advocacy
In the Mentoring for Women programmes I run for companies, one of the biggest benefits is the advocacy mentees eventually get from their mentors. If managed well, the mentors will go behind closed doors to actively advocate for their mentees. This is vital for getting ahead, and a really important reason you need internal senior mentors, which I help all of my clients find.
2. Wider perspective
Because a mentor is likely experienced in areas you aren’t yet, they can widen your eyes to possibilities you wouldn’t normally consider - like a new team in your current organisation, or turning from one side of a transaction to another, like in finance going from buy-to-sell side. As part of that type of career mentoring, they may even help you identify which parts of your sector are growing fastest - as rapidly expanding teams are always looking for good people.
3. Fewer career mistakes
A mentor is usually someone who’s in your sector, maybe even done you job - someone whose been there done that and can help you avoid hard mistakes. While this is great for anyone, this inside track is vital for professional women in particular, and a key part of the work I do as a part of my online career coaching. So if all of that comes from a mentor - what’s the use of an executive coach? Well, for most of my clients - it’s often the one time all month they get to strategically think about where are headed and how to get there faster and with more options. But I’d say the real benefits of coaching in the workplace boil down to these 3 things.
It’s 6:30am and raining - do you know how you’re more likely to drag yourself out of bed to go to the gym if a friend is meeting you? Well, while none of our online coaching sessions will take place at 6:30, I’m like that ‘career friend’ - the person who holds you accountable. So while coaches brainstorm throughout a coaching session as to the activities you’ll do between now and your next session, a coach will say in that next session - ‘how’d you get on with your homework’? Coaches help keep your actions on track because good intentions alone don’t make for a kick-ass career.
2. External perspective
Executive coaches like me, aren’t wedded to you staying with a particular employer or even a particular sector. Coaches help you look wider, across sectors, potentially even to current clients or competitors. Because of the range of companies I’ve worked with - I share observations with my clients based on what I’ve seen in other employers, so you don’t have any more of those ‘Is this just me?’ doubts.
3. Objective outsider
You probably have a lot of friends, and if you’re lucky someone in your family you can take issues home to - but the people who love us also have their own ideas of ‘what’s best for us’. Because coaches have got no skin in your game, they’re less wedded to any one plan of action - other than the one you want to pursue. I certainly challenge my clients to ensure it is the right path for them, but I don’t try to encourage or dissuade them based on what’s best for me.
So now, you can see why coaching and mentoring are different, but both vital for getting you the career you want. Ideally, you’d have both - and with the people I work with - we ensure you get a range of mentors in the very skills you need to build.
If you want to find out more about coaching and mentoring, I’ve got a whole playlist dedicated to the Benefits of Coaching and Mentoring on YouTube.
Do you find coping with rejection hard? If you want to know how do you deal with rejection and what to do when you get rejected - this video is for you.
Dealing with rejection can be a challenge. Facing rejection is one of the most normal, if not most painful parts of life - and it will affect everyone no matter who you are.
I've got 3 ultra-practical ways to help you learn how to deal with rejection.
*SPOILER ALERT* these practical tips to help deal with rejection at work... have NOTHING to do with YOUR CAREER. But they've helped hundreds of women working in fields including finance, law and technology.
I'm also sharing one of the hardest rejections I've faced in my career. Just click the link below, and don't forget to let me know what you think in the comments.
After this video you’ll be a pro at how to handle job rejection and overcoming rejection will be a breeze.
Mentorship at work can be so amazingly powerful for your career.
I've had some amazing mentors in my career (still do!), and they've helped me with all the big decisions I've made.
Mentorship can take time, but once you get to grip with these three top tips, you'll know exactly how to get the mentor that's right for you! One of my clients at a large bank used my step-by-step guide to:
1. Do your homework about mentors: As they say, every day is a school day, but in reality - that means homework.
My client first did her homework on who mattered to her promotion, where they were in the business, the projects that were top of mind for them - and where she had any overlap with them. She used LinkedIn, but also just a regular Google Search on their names. She saw them both speak in public forums to get a sense of what they were interested in. This all made her eventual approach to them much smoother - as she could link her clients with theirs, by saying:
‘In that presentation you mentioned X’ or ‘I see you from the company newsletter that you will be working with Y client? I’ve worked with them last year, I’d love to hear more about that project, so wondered if you’d like a coffee where we could discuss their priorities.'
2. Don’t ask for mentoring: This may sound odd as that’s the whole point of what we’re talking about - but you don’t necessarily have to ask as the term itself can often be off-putting for people.
The ‘homework’ another client did when she was thinking about mentoring came in handy when she saw that the guy she wanted mentoring from was sponsoring a charitable fun run for the company. She was into fitness - so signed up and joined the company team, which gave her plenty of time to get to know him as an informal mentor. She’d never asked him for mentoring, but routinely asked him if she could ‘run an idea past him’ or ‘understand his point of view on an 'issue she as having’.
As they got to know each other, she’d ask him more about his career trajectory - which made her think more widely about her own. So 6 months later, when he was looking to expand his team - he approached her as to whether she’d jump teams. And because during all their runs, she’d learned more about his team - she decided it was move worth making - even though she hadn’t known much about his area of work before she’d ever thought of mentoring.
3. Give mentors feedback: At work, everyone is busy - particularly the types of people you want mentoring from. One of the most dispiriting things I hear from mentors on the mentorship programs I help run for companies is when I ask a mentor ‘What do you think your mentee is getting from the relationship?’
If they answer with the 3 words that kill me: ‘I don’t know’ - that’s a sure sign to me that mentee is at risk of losing the relationship.
The best way to ensure a mentor stays engaged and goes onto becomes one of your sponsors is to give them feedback - even if it’s challenging. Don’t lie and say it’s valuable if it isn’t. Instead, focus on what is useful - even if all that you got out of it was hearing about a different perspective. Say:
‘I really enjoyed our conversation about X, and since that talk I’ve done A and B. I remember you also mentioned doing C, but I think I need to give that a bit more time and think it through a bit more.’
There is nothing that will kill a mentoring relationship at work faster than having the mentor wonder: ‘What did she do with all my advice?’
People, even the most senior of people just want to be needed. Like all of us, they crave feedback. If they don’t get it, they’ll disengage - so tell them how you took their advice forward - and what they can do to further help.
Put in the work and you'll see the benefits of mentoring in the workplace - because remember, no one cares about your career as much as you do.
Now you know about mentorship in the workplace, you’re probably thinking… where do I start?
Well I’ve created “How to Find a Mentor in 5 Step” that is the best way to introduce mentoring into your day-to-day working life. I’ve given this advice to 1000s of clients, and it’s the easiest way to start. All you need to do is click and enter your email address.
Suzanne Doyle-Morris, Author, Speaker & Gender Balance Expert for 25+ years.
Hear what I told BBC Radio about what to do about the worsening gender pay gap data