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10 Mentoring Tips to Leverage Your Network

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Thanks to Linda Holroyd of FountainBlue for inviting me to facilitate the panel on mentoring at EBay. These amazing panelists shared their wisdom and great personal stories on how to mentor sucessfully:

  • Shaya Fathali, Sr. Manager, Technical Communications, Altera,
  • Tonie Hansen, Senior Director, Corporate Responsibility, NVIDIA
  • Yasmeen Jafari, HR Business Partner, Intuitive Surgical
  • Leila Pourhashemi, Head of Product Operations, eBay Marketplaces
  • Ching Valdezco, Director, Strategy and Planning, HP Enterprise Services
  • Shobhana Viswanathan, Director of Product Marketing, Neustar, Inc.
     

Leveraging your mentorship to build your career, and your life is essential to success.

Knowing how to do it effectively is the key.

1. Know what you want and why you want it and then decide with whom you should connect. Being specific about what you need to optimize work, behavior and communication etc., while keeping an eye on your overarching goal might help you with both your short-term and your long-term goals.

2. Know your blind-spots and areas of weakness/less preference and complement yourself with people who can help you fill the gaps.

3. Be authentic and genuine in your communications. Focus on building relationships based on trust to a wide variety of people.

4. Accept all stretch goals within reason, and if you have a purpose for it. It will help you see yourself and your world in a different way.

5. In the same token, embrace diversity – people and things around you who are not-like-you. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but it can have the up-side of being another kind of stretch goal for yourself. Example: Every company has a different DNA, so if you move companies, embrace the opportunity to meet peers and others who can help you get integrated with the-way-things are done.

Millennials have so much to teach us in their team orientation, in their perspective about the leaders-in-charge, in their sometimes forward, unapologetic approach to solving problems. There are learnings there, especially if their mindset makes you feel uncomfortable.

6. Be ever open, ever persistent, ever out-wardly focused, ever focused on paying it forward. 

Take the perspective that you can learn something from everyone.

7. Be ever influencing who is in your sphere and how you are influencing others in your sphere, while expanding your reach selectively.

8. Find and speak your voice, for the purpose of growing and sharing your knowledge, wisdom, brand and network.

9. Look for different kinds of mentors, sponsors, coaches and allies, and leverage them for different reasons, while always keeping an eye out on ‘what’s in it for them’.

10. Always look for and create win-win experiences for all. This is much more important than whether it’s a structured or unstructured mentoring relationship.

Change is hard, and inevitable. Having the right people with you and for you;  those who help you embrace who you are *and* who you’d like to become; supports the journey for all. In the end, YOU are the one who owns your career path and your success. Shape your experiences, plans and outcomes and take responsibility for it.

Remember: Above all, mentorship and sponsorship are about relationships. Build your relationships not your network, and your career will be rich with opportunity.

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