Mentoring has become so much popular in the last years, particularly when it comes to career growth of female professionals. The stereotype around mentors is that you need one person, someone who’s is more experienced than you, who has gone through a similar career path as you and has knowledge and experience in the areas of your interest. And on top of that they should have time and be willing to share their knowledge and experiences and guide you through your personal or professional growth. All that sometimes can be a real challenge.
But the often untold truth is that seeking out a dream coach, as valuable as that person might be, isn’t entirely necessary at least not in the sense that you should consider yourself lost or stuck until you find “the right one.” There are plenty of opportunities to learn from the people around you, your colleagues, members of the communities you belong to, people you know from university, or from other occasions.
Turn around, you will find plenty of talented, knowledgeable and in different areas experienced people. You just need to engage in an open conversation with them and show interests in what they are doing and how they are doing it.
Regardless of their age or experience level, if someone on your team is talented, you should be picking their brain for little gems of wisdom, or even asking them more directly to teach you how to do what they’re doing, how they have solved their issues, what were their lessons learned from certain situations, etc. Instead of setting up coffee dates with executives you aspire to be, you should embrace “mentorship moments” and acquire a broad range of skills from your counterparts.
Not to be understood wrongly, the traditional mentoring is still very valuable for your career. But still there is lots of value in those relationships formed organically over time, and you definitely don’t want to miss out on collecting valuable knowledge simply because you’re not paying attention to the wealth of knowledge that’s already in front of you.
Women are smart, determined, resilient, and resourceful, but just like many others, you won’t dive into anything in your career, a business, or even a new project willing to knowing everything. You can spend time looking for the perfect mentor, who you might or might not find, or you can start collecting relationships, building a community of people who represent a variety of career levels, interests, and experiences.
If you see that someone has a skill you want, get to know them. If you don’t understand something, ask someone who does to meet with you one on one. Take notes when you see a presentation style you like. Learn from other people’s successes and failures. Fuel the growth of your career with snippets of learnings from everyone you meet along the way.
Who knows maybe this is the mentoring of the new time.