Mentors are invaluable sources of advice, guidance and support.
In workforces today, mentors are invaluable sources of advice, guidance and support. Ongoing advice and engagement is vital when making career decisions.
Mentoring is more than growing your network and progressing your career. Participants gain confidence in the professional setting and learn such valuable skills through being seeing alternative perspectives. The most valuable mentoring relationships come from both parties learning from each other and exploring alternative viewpoints and solutions.
Mentoring exists to create a framework for support and guidance, ensure successful working relationships, and encourage the sharing of knowledge, skills and understanding. Whether formal or informal, mentoring can be extremely valuable to your career.
There is no point at which it is too early to start a mentoring relationship for professional development. Nor is it ever too late to have a mentor. Through constructive criticism, advice and the various benefits of mentoring, professionals can build confidence and build on their continual professional development.
It is a mutually beneficial process and can result in a new perspective being gained from another professionals view, your company profiled being raised and a chance to reflect on your abilities, skills and knowledge.
To get the most out of mentoring, mentors and mentees are encouraged to:
Treat the mentoring relationship with the respect it deserves.
Focus the relationship on the mentee's needs, and use the powerful skills of smart questioning, active listening, and value-added feedback to achieve the best outcomes from mentoring.
Keep the mentoring relationship on track, by setting regular mentor meetings, being honest and open, and not looking for quick fixes - mentoring is a long-term commitment.
Most importantly – enjoy the opportunity a mentoring relationship provides.
The Society offers a mentoring network for professionals who already hold, or have made a firm commitment to applying for, Chartered Geographer accreditation. If you are seeking insight, advice and support into preparing an application, and identifying professional development opportunities and guidance that will support your career development, then mentoring may benefit you.
To be a good mentee you are expected to:
Own the relationship – book meetings, keep any notes required, bring the requisite paperwork along. Generally try and make the mentor’s job easier so they can focus on giving you advice and support.
Listen – be open minded, listen and be receptive to constructive feedback.
Respect the mentor – they are there to help you. Sometimes an honest exchange leads to the mentor and mentee deciding that they don't ‘click’. It's better to know up front and build from this sort of understanding, rather than have it hurt the relationship. Contact the Professional Officer if you have any concerns in this regard. You can request a different mentor.
Progress actions – do so in a timely manner. Mentors want to invest their time and experience in mentees who own and drive their development and make this investment themselves.
Do your research – it’s your responsibility to know the background to the Chartered Geographer application. The role of the mentor is to support and advise you, rather than provide all the answers.
Ask - when in doubt, ask. The Society provides a wealth of background detail, advice and guidance on Chartership. If you have any queries, use the website to look for answers to your questions or contact the Professional Officer.
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Featured image: @linkedinsalesnavigator/Unsplash
Nina MacVinish was a panel member in the online discussion ‘Geospatial skills and continuing professional development’ at the AGI’s annual GeoCom event in November 2020
Tips for working remotely or hybrid working.
By asking new or different questions of your mentor, you can unlock new insight and advice.
See our five key tips for starting your careers with geography
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