As an expert in the field, I have seen that successful mentoring is independent of the discipline. Whether you are mentoring a medical resident or a marketing manager, the same principles apply. The best mentoring is more like the relationship between a parent and an adult child than between a boss and an employee. It is characterized by mutual respect, trust, shared values, and good communication, and culminates in the transition from mentee to mentor.
When deciding how long you want the mentoring relationship to last, consider how long it will take to achieve your short-term goals. A good rule of thumb is usually four to six months, with the option to continue meeting informally. It is also important to understand why your mentor has made professional decisions. Familiarizing yourself with their career path and how they achieved success is helpful, but understanding why they made those decisions is even more useful.
This way, you can apply an equally demanding thought process to your own professional choices. By being a mentor, you provide a sounding board for rising stars to learn from previous management and experience, so that they can make better decisions in similar scenarios. Showing your mentor that their advice is valued will help you stay focused and accountable. As a co-mentor, they can give you their opinion on the best way to organize meetings with your mentor, give advice on work-life balance, ensure discipline, and identify opportunities for growth. It is essential to come to each meeting with guiding questions based on what you want to achieve. This will encourage them to think for themselves and save time thinking about what to focus on.
You should also create a team of mentors with members selected for their diverse areas of knowledge, such as subject matter experience or professional advice. Most people in the business world start at the bottom and work their way up, but they don't usually do it alone. Consider hiring an identity-based mentor in your organization if you need to talk about the problems you face as an underrepresented person in your professional environment. Brain trusts are essential as they provide the myriad skills and knowledge needed in business that are difficult to acquire from a single person. Divisions between mentors and mentors are common in both business and academia and should be resolved quickly. Business and academic professionals are highly itinerant and move from one project or institution to another.
As such, it is important for entrepreneurs and professionals alike to be prepared to make decisions based on the advice of their business mentor.