Mentoring is a Choice

Recently, I have been involved in creating and leading a few mentoring programs for large organizations. I continue to be amazed at how so many individuals wait to pursue getting a mentor/s and also offering mentorship to others. Mentoring does not have to be offered through a formal program; in fact, I would argue often the most beneficial mentoring relationships are those we seek on our own.

Richard R. Buery Jr., president and chief executive of the Children’s Aid Society, based in New York, was recently interviewed by Adam Bryant, in the New York Times.

Here is what he had to say about mentoring

“I’ve gone to people for various reasons — because they had an interesting job or because I admired their work or I heard them speak — and said: ‘You don’t know me, but this is who I am. This is what I’m doing. I’d love it if every few months I could come and have lunch with you, ask you some questions, and give me your feedback until you get bored or until I stop calling.’ And what’s been amazing to me is that no one’s ever said no to that. I don’t think anyone’s ever said no. It’s made an incredible difference in my career.”

I agree with Richard 100%. The same has been true in my career. I still keep in touch and solicit support from mentors with whom I formed relationships in my first position at Hewlett-Packard Company.  Don’t wait for a formal program. Seek support and advice from those you admire. If you are fortunate enough to be invited to be a part of a mentoring program – jump at the chance! And keep those relationships mutually beneficial beyond the length the program. It truly can be the gift that keeps on giving.