Here you'll find a selection of blogs from Enhance Mentoring, ranging from helpful checklists to mentoring definitions and advice. If you have a suggestion for a blog, let me know!
When I was younger, I had a specific age in mind when I would view myself as an adult. I believed that when I hit this age, I’d be married with children, have a great career, and have lots of money. This magic age was 27. As I got closer and closer to this age though, I started getting worried because as the years fell away I realised I was nowhere near achieving all the things I thought I would by this time.
After school I went to University in Stoke to study Journalism, but I only lasted in the big wide world for 2 months before I quit and came home. Although not a lot of time had passed whilst I was away, in my head I viewed it as a waste of a whole year, and as a result of this mentality, I actually did end up wasting the year. I went to University again, this time staying for the full 4 years and graduating with a 2:1 in Business Management, but I failed to get a graduate job when I had finished and ended up out of work for a few months. More wasted time as far as I was concerned. I then started working for a start-up company, who I would go on to work with for 2 and a half years, staying with them on the promise of a great career and increased salary. Then they made me redundant, and just like that I went back to thinking I had wasted another 2 and a half years.
I was stuck in this ongoing mentality that because I had experienced failure, I had wasted time and hadn’t achieved anything. I hit 27 and felt like I had it all wrong. I looked at my friends, even my family, and compared every aspect of my life to theirs. What was wrong with me? Why wasn’t I able to achieve the life I had planned out for myself?
I found a new job which I stayed at for 3 years, and although I liked my role and the people I worked with, after 18 months that mentality came back again. This time though, I refused to entertain it. I needed to create my own achievement, work hard on my own merits and in my own time, because clearly the traditional routes of success and achievement just weren't working for me.
This is when my Mentoring journey began.
My first step was to find a Mentor, because I knew I needed some clear guidance and advice about how to get myself out of the 'failure' mentality and into the 'I can do this' mentality. I asked a colleague who I perceived to be confident and successful to become my Mentor. I figured that he would have the best advice and I in turn would develop these same traits. This was when I knew very little about what Mentoring was. I thought that a Mentor would simply tell me what to do and problem solved. Like a teacher, or a boss. Or a fairy godmother with a magic wand.
Mentoring is so much more than this, which is something I realised over the course of our first few meetings and during my research. We met often and spoke about where my head was at and what I should do to adapt and change my reality. We spoke about the challenges I was facing at work, how to separate them into easy-to-solve bites, how to work with new people, how to remain confident, composed and professional, and how to enjoy the little moments and take a breath every once in a while. My Mentor shared his own life experiences, both positive and negative, and spoke with honesty and a sense of rawness which I both needed and appreciated.
It’s true that my Mentor gave me specific pieces of advice for specific issues I was faced with, but during our meetings and now reflecting back on them, I also gained very general and useful tools that I now use to deal with new issues and challenges. He didn’t give me the answers like I thought he would. He gave me something much better – the ability to figure the answers out for myself.
He also changed my mentality regarding how I viewed my career. We looked at my ‘failures’ and talked about all the positives that came from them. I will never quit anything as easily as I quit University because I will always remember how it felt to come home, knowing that I hadn’t even tried. I will constantly reassess my value within a company after being blind-sided with redundancy in a previous job. After feeling like I wasted time in previous roles, I’m now able to recognise when I’ve become complacent and so I try to better myself and take on new challenges. All the other mini ‘failures’ we had discussed became mini ‘wins’. Not conventional in the slightest, but they were the silver linings to the black clouds that had taken over my perspective. Mentoring shifted my focus from my past and made me reevaluate my future.
At the same time as being Mentored, I started to create a Mentoring programme that would allow others to be mentored at my place of work, just like me. Knowing how much Mentoring had helped me became my fuel for driving the programme forward and making it the best it could be. I was able to create and run a successful mentoring pilot with 12 participants, and see it through to the end before leaving the company. I’m so very proud of the work I did on this project, and I hope that my work has lived on in my absence.
As a result of creating this programme, I realised that there is a lot of information out there about Mentoring. Whilst incredibly useful, it can also be very intimidating to those who are new to this topic. I also didn’t want my new found knowledge to go to waste. So I created Enhance Mentoring.
Originally I wanted to to become an all singing all dancing online mentoring hub complete with a mentoring programme for members to join, a forum for everyone to discuss mentoring topics, a resource centre with downloadable PDFs and eBooks for those wanting to create their own programmes, and a regularly updated blog and engaging social media pages. Sounds amazing, right? However, all of that, combined with learning everything to do with building, running, promoting and understanding my website (SEO is a minefield, let me tell you), AND working a new full time job, just became far too much for me, so just 2 months after launch, I had to stop spending time on all aspects of Enhance Mentoring.
Before I knew it, 10 months of Enhance Mentoring silence had passed, and only now have I found the motivation and time to get started again. This time I’m going to be focusing my attention solely on the blog. I’m not saying all my other dreams for Enhance Mentoring won’t be realised in the future, but my immediate expectations are now much more realistic and I’m feeling a lot more positive now that the pressure is off.
I really hope you enjoy what I’m able to offer here at Enhance Mentoring. Please have a read of some of my blog posts, and let me know if you have any questions about becoming a mentee, mentor, or creating a mentoring programme in your own place of work. I will forever be an advocate for Mentoring and its enormous benefits to all individuals at all stages of their career, and I hope Enhance Mentoring can spread this word far and wide.