The Art of Informal Mentoring

Today’s federal employee may seek a work life balance, solid wages and a great path forward in their chosen field. It is truly a gift to work with a group of highly trained professionals with a focus on a common goal. It also helps to identify your personal career goals so that the path forward incorporates your needs as an employee.

A great way to begin and maintain one’s career goals is through the art of informal mentoring. This may occur by identifying various subject matter experts, leaders and innovators in your chosen field to talk to about how to excel at work. Their input may guide your decisions about your future and specific skills needed to advance your career.

Moreover, the great part of informal mentoring includes meeting with thought-leaders based on specific career needs instead of a dedicated schedule of meetings. Flexibility and the use of various communication and technology tools will keep you and your informal mentor connected even during hectic times at work.

Remember to keep all informal mentoring sessions confidential between you and your mentor. There is no need to share information regarding your informal mentoring sessions as it may only create animosity or challenges with peers who may perceive similar access to these types of opportunities are limited. It is helpful to share with your manager that you are meeting with an informal mentor to ensure that you meet or exceed agency expectations. It will reflect positively on your initiative and problem-solving skills.

It also helps to have more than one informal mentor so that you can gain diverse perspectives regarding everything from business communications; leadership; team work challenges; issues with managers; training and preparing for promotions. Their wisdom can help you grow professionally in the right direction. Moreover, when informal mentors share their insights with new mentees they also learn something new as well.



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