Engaging in Mentoring can be one of the most valuable ways to develop and is a great way to tackle your next challenge. But once you have a Mentor, how do you figure out where to start?
IML ANZ have been running our Mentoring Program for 8 years, and in that time, we’ve learnt a few great strategies for starting your Mentoring match off on the right foot. Whether you’re looking to expand your skillset, take the next step in your career, or address a problem you’re facing at work, these 3 easy tools can help you and your Mentor start strong and achieve the best results.
Identifying your skills
Things change quickly, and even experienced managers need to set aside time regularly to update and refresh their skillset. From technical management skill to influencing and negotiations, a Mentor can help you discover new ways of working that can help you achieve ever-greater results.
A great starting point for managers looking for skill development is to complete a personal SWOT analysis. This analysis is beneficial in not only identifying areas for development, but also in helping you to better understand and leverage your strengths.
To perform a personal SWOT analysis, take some time to consider and answer the following:
- Strengths – what are your greatest strengths? What inspires and motivates you? What gives you satisfaction?
- Weaknesses – which skills could you develop? What do you find challenging or demotivating?
- Opportunities – What career steps are available to you now? What options do you have to access development opportunities or further education?
- Threats – what barriers exist that could prevent you from accessing these opportunities or achieving your goals?
We recommend sitting down and completing the analysis on your own first, before bringing it to your Mentor to discuss and develop. Consider this a working document, which you can continually add to and update over time.
Don’t forget that a personal SWOT analysis doesn’t have to be specific to your role, so make sure you think about those elements from your personal life as well as your career. This may just open the door to a new way of thinking about yourself, or a new career, that you hadn’t considered before.
Unlike the workplace of yesteryear, career planning today is rarely a case of looking straight up a corporate ladder. While this opens up a wide world of opportunities, it also means that career planning has to take on a new, dynamic approach.
Today, career planning should be seen as a continuous process, where you set aside time regularly to consider where you are now and where you might like to go. You may find it useful to use the model below:
Reflect on your skills and knowledge, as well the things you enjoy and value. From there, you can explore different roles around you to find out which skillsets they require and where they cross over with your own skills and interests. When you have all the information, you can make informed decisions about your next career move and take action to start working towards your goals.
As above, career planning today needs to be dynamic and continuous to keep up with the rapidly shifting landscape. By using this model, and regularly revisiting and refining it, you can ensure you’re seeing and working towards the best opportunities for you.
work and feel their leaders are approachable, the easier they’ll find it to strike a better balance at work.
We often welcome Mentees to our program who are looking for support with a specific challenge. Most of us use a model for problem-solving, whether or not we realise it, but sitting down to really think through the steps can help us ensure we cover all bases, which can really improve your outcomes.
If you’re facing a particular challenge, you may want to start by looking at the following model, which outlines the 6 steps of problem-solving.
The first step of this model is often the most important, as you need to ensure you’re identifying the true cause of the problem. A great method is to start with your issue, then ask ‘why’ 5 times, as in the below example:
- Productivity is low (why?)
- Employees are disengaged (why?)
- They’re struggling to reach KPIs (why?)
- They have issues using the system efficiently (why?)
- Not trained in system correctly
In this way, you can ensure you’re addressing the real cause of the issue and not just treating a symptom. Using this model can help ensure all your hard work will go to resolving the actual problem and improve outcomes for yourself and your team.
To find out more about IML ANZ’s Member exclusive Mentoring Program and how it can support you, please click here.