Mentoring for Success

NAGC Board member and Strategic Affairs Officer/Public Relations Manager at the Mississippi Department of Employment Security
Anyone who knows me understands I have been around a few
blocks in my career. I am neither a
longtime communications professional, nor am I a lifetime public servant. Although I have held many titles in several
different industries, I have always been a communicator and exhibit passion in
what I do. Sharing my experiences and mentoring others is one of my great
current environment has given me the chance to identify and mentor individuals
in an informal setting, but in a way that allows them to reach their maximum
potential. I love that! Nothing is as rewarding as working with
someone who has a goal but who needs a little guidance to reach it.
recent success was an employee who has wanted to lead his department for
several years. He had the knowledge but
lacked the supervisory experience and the business acumen that made him the
first choice for the position. But the
head of his division went to bat for him and agreed to coach him on a more
professional style of dress. I believed
in him as well, and approached the division head about mentoring the employee
on his management style; he readily agreed.
For the
past three months, I’ve met with this young man weekly. I allow him to relate his challenges and
successes for the week and we discuss how they were handled or how they need to
be handled. Consistent regularly
scheduled meetings are imperative to successful mentoring. Allow the mentee to vent; it gives them the
opportunity to define their concerns and helps the mentor identify the mentee’s
challenges, which may not always be obvious.
One of
the greatest obstacles this employee faced was managing a department of people
with whom he was a peer. This presents
specific challenges because there are always advocates and detractors within
your group, and sometimes, the people who fall into each category can be a
surprise. As a mentor, I wanted him to
understand that his co-workers’ perceptions might change due to his new
status. It would not be personal, just a
part of human nature. Preparing a
mentee for the unexpected helps him stay focused on what is important.
employee’s knowledge of his field was the advantage he brought to the
role. He also brought very specific
ideas for changes he wanted to make within the group. My goal was to help him see the value in the
opinions of his team. Helping a mentee
understand the value of the whole team allows him succeed as an individual, and
provides the mechanism for him to mentor his own team.
for this young man came to fruition last week when it was announced that the
chief position was his! I like to feel I
had some measure in his success, but the fact is he had the ability all the
time it simply needed to be channeled.
The greatest compliment I received is that he wants to continue our
weekly sessions because he finds them helpful for his overall development. I continue to look forward to the opportunity
to feed the passion I have for sharing my experiences and helping others reach
their potential. I recommend that anyone
who has been around a few blocks and picked up some lessons along the way help
others exceed their goals. Become a
mentor. The rewards are worth the time
and effort!
NAGC’s Mentor Value Program (MVP) is a good start for any prospective mentor or mentee.

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Elizabeth Fischer Laurie

Thanks for posting this article. I just started my first formal mentoring program as a mentee. I am nervous about wasting my mentor’s time. Thus, I really appreciate hearing that these relationships benefit the mentor just as much as the mentee, just in different ways.