The research has been done, and the case has been made for women in business and how it positively impacts profitability. So, we need you, yes, you specifically, in your role because it makes a difference. Banks, accounting firms, credit unions, legal firms, and all kinds of male-dominated industries need more women and at all levels of the organization.
There is a remedy, and that’s mentoring. Mentoring is a tool that allows you to learn and grow while being supported in your leadership, but it also has amazing impacts on your business.
First of all, let’s not overcomplicate mentoring. Mentoring is simply when someone more experienced or knowledgeable share it with someone who is less so. That’s it.
Here’s why it’s important to you in your leadership.
Do you remember the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, where the father sprayed glass cleaner on everything? It was the one-stop answer for all kinds of situations.
Mentoring is kind of the same way. Mentoring benefits the person to be supported and creates visibility and credibility for their work, and it also benefits the organization.
When you put people together for mentoring that are not like each other, it brings out different thinking and new ideas. It helps to layer in diversity subtly by allowing people of different backgrounds to get to know each other as people and for a specific purpose. Mentoring helps to get more women into the pipeline so that there is a slate of qualified candidates when a senior position opens up. And we need more women in these positions because the young women coming up behind you need to see it and believe it’s achievable.
As a woman in leadership or one who aspires to be there, mentoring is a tool that you need to take a hard look at. Whether it’s for you as an individual or as a leader in your organization, here’s how.
1. Get clarity on what your career and leadership goals are.
What are you looking to do next? How do you want to uplevel? Is there a position you desire, an enhanced skill set, or certification in your future? Are there women in your organization you have identified for the pipeline, and have you met with them to see where the gap is in their skills and experience? Get clarity on the “what” before looking for the “who” to be a mentor.
2. Look into mentoring programs at work.
According to ATD (Association for Training and Development), 70 percent of Fortune 500 companies have formal mentoring programs. Do you have one at your organization? Can you apply for a mentor or to be part of the program? Even if there isn’t a formal program, once you have clarity of your career and leadership goals, there’s no reason you can’t step up and make the ask for someone to mentor you. Broaden your search and consider people outside your organization looking for those who have already done what you are looking to do. Likewise, if you are looking to have members of your team mentored, can you get them a seat in the mentoring program?
3. Ask about participating in leadership development programming.
Leadership development programming is group mentoring at its finest. It gives participants in the cohort an instant network of resources and support, as well as a “container” where people can share vulnerably about what is getting in their way. It supports them with the pillars of personal and professional success to rise to the next level with more confidence. This is another great option for your high potential talent if it’s already in place in your organization—advocate for getting your women in the pipeline into the programming.
Whether you are a woman who wants more clarity on her way forward to a new level of leadership or if you’re looking to incorporate the above programming into your organization, let’s chat to see how I can help you. There is so much out in front of you, and I’d be delighted to help you get clarity on what that is.
Until next time, here’s wishing you the clarity you deserve in leadership and life!