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Mentorship 101: Asking, Understanding, and Doing

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Mentoring is an essential part of personal and professional development. It’s a relationship in which an experienced and knowledgeable person guides and supports another person in their growth and development. Mentoring can provide valuable insights, knowledge, and support that can help you succeed in your career.

Finding the right mentor for yourself can be challenging, but beneficial. Here are a few steps to help you find the right mentor:

  1. Identify your goals: Before you start looking for a mentor, you need to identify your goals. What do you want to achieve? What skills do you need to develop? What challenges are you facing? Having a clear idea of what you want will help you find the right mentor who can help you achieve your goals.

  2. Review your current networks or associations: Look for mentors who have a similar career path and leverage the Optical Women’s Association (OWA). You can find potential mentors through the OWA by searching the member directory, joining a committee, and attending networking events.

  3. Research potential mentors: Once you have identified potential mentors, research them. Check their LinkedIn profiles, read their blogs, and follow them on social media. This will help you get a better idea of their background, experience and expertise, to determine if that person is a good mentor-match for your own goals.

  4. Make the connection: Once you have identified potential mentors that seem like a good fit, reach out to them. You can start by sending them an email, introducing yourself, and explaining why you are interested in their mentorship. Be clear about your goals and how you think they can help you achieve them.

Asking someone to be your mentor can be intimidating, but essential to your growth and development. Here are a few tips to help you ask someone to be your mentor:

  1. Be clear about your goals when you approach someone to be your mentor, and be clear about why you think they would be a good fit. Explain what you hope to achieve through the mentoring relationship.

  2. Show your commitment to the relationship by being prepared, following through on commitments, and taking the initiative.

  3. Be respectful of their time: Remember that your potential mentor is likely busy, be clear about the time commitment you are asking for and be flexible in scheduling meetings.

A mentor can help you be more successful in your career in many ways. Here are a few examples:

  1. Provide guidance and support: A mentor’s insights and knowledge can help you navigate your career path and identify your strengths and weaknesses, develop new skills, and overcome challenges.

  2. Share knowledge and expertise: A mentor can provide insights into their industry, offer advice on specific projects, and share their own experiences and lessons learned.

  3. Expand your network: A mentor can introduce you to new people and connect you with colleagues, industry experts, and potential employers beyond what you can reach on your own.

Mentoring someone is a rewarding experience that requires patience, dedication, and a willingness to share your knowledge and expertise.

  1. What a mentor provides: You should provide your mentee with guidance, support, and encouragement. Schedule regular discussions to answer their questions, provide feedback, and offer advice on their career path.

  2. Developmental skills: You should also help them identify their strengths and weaknesses and set goals. It’s important to be a good listener and provide constructive feedback that is actionable.

  3. Be a positive impact: A mentor is a role model and leads by example, demonstrating the qualities and behaviors that you want your mentee to emulate.

Remember, asking someone to mentor you can be intimidating, but it’s a crucial step in your personal and professional growth. Don’t let fear hold you back from reaching out to potential mentors who could provide valuable guidance and support. If you’re not sure where to start, consider the power of the OWA. The network of the members provide resources and opportunities for women in the optical industry to connect with mentors and build relationships with other professionals.

With the right mentor and support network, you can achieve your goals and take your career to the next level.

Written by Mikki Collins

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