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Women and Career Mentoring

24th September 2015

 Ambitious women are still struggling to find a Mentor to help them with their personal-professional development and career progression. One of the most often repeated question we hear in Women in Management UK from women whether in the public private or third sectors is ‘where can I get a mentor?’  Women are often looking for someone who can inspire them to greater things, support them to build their confidence, assist them to explore what to do in different management and leadership situations and open doors for them.

There are 2 main ways to find a mentor

·        Informal mentoring – this is where you seek out (or are sought out by) a Mentor. It all happens without the intervention of the company you work for and is the traditional approach. The second is;

·        Formal mentoring – where the organisation has gone to the trouble of setting up a system for bringing together Mentors and Mentees recognising that the traditional approach has often disadvantaged groups such as women, minorities and disabled people.

Both have their benefits and limitations, for example informal mentoring often feels more natural, because it is the coming together of people who already feel they have some sort of synergy. On the other hand formal mentoring generally includes some form of training on what mentoring is and is not, how to go about getting the best from it etc.

Aspiring Mentees will need to decide if they would like to be mentored by someone of the same gender, whether this will limit the pool of available Mentors too much, and whether they need to create new networks in order to be seek out new people who might fulfil the Mentor role.

There is definitely some value to reaching out to someone that you admire. You never know -  they might be willing to find the time and space to share some wisdoms, experience, knowledge and explore  issues that face you together. You can build the relationship in the same way that you would build any other.

Certainly you have to make a decision about whether you want a Mentor or not, otherwise when the opportunity does arise you may well be looking in another direction.


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