I’ve been dabbling with a book by Sylvia Ann Hewlett titled Forget a Mentor, Find a sponsor for several months. I still haven’t finished the book however believe both mentors and sponsors matter. They have different roles in our professional life. How to make the best use of time with mentors perplexed me for a while even though I could imagine the value of tapping the wisdom and life experiences of those who have walked a similar path. How to frame the conversations or determine when to approach a mentor was less clear. I’ve learned that trusted mentors can provide and perspective to guide choices (note, I did not write advice). They are perfect people to connect with to:
- seek guidance on how to handle professional situations and relationships
- uncover ideas and gather diverse perspectives on how to approach a new experience, unfamiliar task or uncertain situation
- learn and be inspired about what to be thinking about next (ask your mentor what they are reading, blogs they follow, events they’re planning to attend or have recently attended and WHY or WHAT they learned).