Advice: 5 top tips on working with a mentor

Advice: 5 top tips on working with a mentor

Advice from Nina Lovatt, director at HT Training and Coaching

Ever feel like you want to talk to someone for advice and support at work who isn’t your boss or a work colleague?

Mentoring is becoming increasingly popular in businesses as a way of helping to support and develop employees in their careers.

Global hospitality and tourism training specialist HT Training and Coaching has incorporated mentoring into its business strategy as part of its corporate social responsibility and found that “giving something back” also reaps tangible commercial rewards.

Directors Nina Lovatt and Rosemary Bannister participate in three schemes: Oxford Brookes School of Hospitality’s Bacchus Mentoring programme, Women 1st’s mentoring scheme and the Springboard Ambassador programme.

They believe mentoring not only provides invaluable support for career progression but also helps nurture a pipeline of talent for the future.

Dr Judie Gannon, programme coordinator for the Oxford Brookes School of Hospitality Bacchus Mentoring programme, said:

“During my doctoral studies, I was struck by the number of times mentoring was mentioned as critical to managers’ success, and our experience has shown that it greatly enhances student employability.”

Here, Lovatt outlines five benefits of working 
with a mentor.

Career progression/confidence

Mentoring usually falls into two categories: sponsorship or developmental. You need to decide which one suits you best.

  • Sponsorship mentors focus on a structured career path, and may be a more senior, in-house colleague or an external career patron who is well-connected and can open doors for you.
  • A developmental mentor helps develop your skills and confidence.

Personal and professional development

It can be difficult to find the right person to openly discuss your own aspirations and act as a sounding board: a boss has to balance what you would like with organisational priorities; friends may not fully understand work-related issues.

A successful mentoring relationship provides a sounding board and objective framework for learning and self‑development.

Solving problems and changing your perspective

It’s easy to get emotionally involved in a particular issue and then struggle to separate the facts from emotional reactions.

Your mentor will often see a situation from a different perspective and, where appropriate, challenge your approach and work with you to find an alternative solution.

Clarity and focus

For most of us life is incredibly busy, so how do you find time to take a step back and review what you would like to achieve and how to get there? Working with a mentor brings clarity and focus to what you need to do.

Inspiration

A mentor brings their experience, connections and an objective sounding board. Mentors will often have skills and connections you may not have dreamed of – and will be happy to share them, where appropriate.

This experience can make a huge difference to mentees and inspire and support them.

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