“The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own” Benjamin Disraeli
People of African descent residing in UK are often pushed to work much harder than their peers from other racial backgrounds in order to succeed in their careers. However, success is not a product of hard work alone. The truth is that in addition to working hard you must also work smart! This means that your hard work should be combined with other key ingredients for success including:
- Networking with the right people to gain access to useful contacts
- Seeking feedback and constantly striving to remain up to date in the area you specialise in
- Finding a Mentor
Arguably the biggest key to success is mentorship, an area in which Connect4Better (Cee4Bee) places significant importance. Having attended only two events, the importance of mentorship has been a common theme from both the organisers and various guest speakers. This has given me fresh insight into the way that mentorship plays a pivotal role and underpins the running of successful business.
So what is mentorship? Put simply, it is a relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person in their personal and professional development by sharing their knowledge, expertise and experience. The potential benefits arising from the mentor-mentee relationship are invaluable. For example, as a mentee you gain exposure to new ideas and ways of thinking as well as increased visibility and recognition as the mentor opens doors for you within their own network.
Mentorship also increases your self-confidence enabling you to take control of your personal and professional development. On the other hand, as a mentor you will gain satisfaction from giving back and making a difference. Mentorship will help to sharpen your listening skills, especially listening passively and actively. Not only that, you will also strengthen your interpersonal skills, develop your personal leadership and coaching skills and gain knowledge in other subject areas.
The next question is – how do I get or become a mentor? Although there are various ways, I would recommend Connect4Better. They work hard to assess your needs and skills in order to match you up with the right mentor – all you need to do is register your interest. Alternatively, you could apply for various mentorship schemes such as:
- The Prince’s Trust which provides mentoring for young people
- The Aspire Foundation’s Scheme which joins senior female mentors from the corporate world with women in charities
- Urban Synergy which is an early intervention mentoring charity that helps over 1,000 young people between 11-18 years of age
- Mentors for Me which works with businesses
It is also important to note that many companies also have formal mentoring schemes, these are particularly good for those who want to progress upwards within the organisation as they give an exposure that you would not ordinarily have. If for one reason or another you cannot get access to a mentor in person, you can get one in print. There are a lot of very well written books out there that will steer you towards the path of success.
Before you rush out to mentor or to get a mentor, there are two things that you should keep in mind, first of all, the mentoring relationship should be one of mutual trust, respect and open communication. It should be a beneficial relationship and both parties should strive to bring something to the relationship. Secondly, be clear in your mind what you’re hoping to get out of it before you establish the relationship.
As a mentee you should map out your goals then think about how a mentor can help you get there. Be specific about how you’d like your mentor to help. You should to be able to explain to them where you feel your weaknesses are and what you think they may have to offer you. Remember that it is not the mentor’s role to tell you what to do, rather their role is to help you uncover your potential.
So if you are making resolutions for 2017 be sure to add mentoring to the list, you will not regret it.
Thanks for reading
Get involved, join our campaign, let’s connect to help less opportuned Black Africans in UK and future generations will be grateful. Like/share this post; drop your comments and ideas. (This post was written by Jacqueline Gray, Former Analyst with Bloomberg . Contact – email@example.com, www.cee4bee.com)