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Mentoring Lesson #1: Deciding What You Want – Personally and Professionally

Based on the book, “Learning to Lead Through Mentoring”, this is the first in the series of mentoring lessons outlining important topics to consider when approaching a mentoring relationship.  The full transcript of the book can be found on Amazon.  The lessons are intended to help the reader approach mentoring relationships with better perspective and can also be useful to the mentor in guiding the relationship and discussion for their mentee or protégé.

Much focus is often placed on professional goals.  We are often asked for our five year plan and tend to be highly focused on our one year targets.  I believe it is also important to know what you want personally as well, to know what you want your personal life to look like and what experiences you wish to have.

About 10 years ago, I created a list of 100 things I wanted to do before I died.  Often referred to as a “Bucket List”, this list included activities such as skydiving, seeing the ball drop in Times Square for NYE, visiting the Eiffel Tower in Paris, having lunch in Italy, swimming with dolphins, and many more.  I am proud to say I have checked off 65 of the items in 10 years and there has certainly been a sense of accomplishment for each experience.

Prior to approaching a mentoring relationship, it is critical to spend some time determining your personal and professional goals to determine the best mentor for you.

Here are some questions to consider to get you started:

  • What are your long-term (5 years or more) professional goals?
  • What are your short term professional goals?
  • What items are on your bucket list?
  • What are you working on in the present to help you accomplish your goals?

By giving careful consideration to your personal and professional goals, you will be taking the first step in determining the type of mentor who would be most helpful to you and be in a good position to approach the conversation most effectively.

Alison Martin

Written by

Alison Martin-Books is the Managing Director of Diverse Talent Strategies, a family of brands offering turn-key solutions for mentoring, women’s leadership initiatives, and recruitment. With roughly 15 years in nonprofit work, Martin-Books has a passion for doing work that makes a difference in the lives of others. After serving as Executive Director at two different national nonprofit organizations, her commitment to her passion for developing female talent led her launch Mentoring Women’s Network. In her role, Martin-Books acts as a liaison to a national committee responsible for the leadership development content for the organization and consults with corporations on the development and strategy aligned with initiatives for emerging female leaders. She is also the author of the book, “Landing on My Feet: Learning to Lead Through Mentoring” and speaks regularly on behalf of the organization

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