By Jan Murray
Over the next few weeks and months it will become more important than ever for our community to work together to provide strong support for each other and to ensure that whilst having to socially isolate we don’t become isolated.
We are living in challenging times, each of us facing our own challenges and constant uncertainty. When we launched our mentoring platform our aim was to provide a tool that you could use to help support your career development and to share knowledge. Whilst that is still the case, it does also provide you with an online facility to find a mentor to help support you through current challenges or for you to be able to offer your support to others as a mentor. You may not be able to solve all the challenges that we will face going forward but having someone to give you some additional support and ideas could be invaluable.
Some of us may find we have more time on our hands than we normally would and so finally have the time to invest in developing a mentoring relationship, one which will continue well beyond the foreseeable future and will support our long-term career development.
Others will find that our time is sucked up in coping with this ever-changing situation, so support needs may be less long term and formal but a shorter-term mentor to bounce ideas off and to provide a different perspective could still be invaluable.
Benefits of Mentoring
Research has shown that mentoring programs offer benefits for both parties involved. Being a mentor can bring many mental benefits. The interaction from mentoring increases social engagement, which helps people avoid loneliness and reduces the risk of depression.
The experience gives the mentor a chance to revisit obstacles they have overcome and the successes they have achieved, which can help focus on the positive aspects of life.
A good mentor needs specific skills, such as active listening and empathy. There are often times when a mentee needs guidance or ideas, and other times when they just need to talk about what is on their mind and want someone to just listen.
Mentoring is a serious commitment, so both mentor and mentee should be honest about their desire to pursue it. You don't want to enter into a relationship and then suddenly abandon it. Our platform provides a learn more section which guides you through what is involved in the mentoring process so you can assess whether it is right for you before you make a commitment..
Keep in mind that mentoring is like any other new relationship, begin slowly, and don't worry if there is not an initial spark. It may take time to build trust, so don't think initial resistance is a sign of rejection. If, for some reason, a specific mentoring relationship does not work out, don't give up. Try again with a different individual and eventually you will find a good fit.