Magazine article Working Mother

Job Coach: Seek and Find a Mentor

Magazine article Working Mother

Job Coach: Seek and Find a Mentor

Article excerpt

Question: I hear that women should have mentors, but I don't see this happening at my workplace. Am I missing out on something essential?

Answer: Let me dispel a major myth. Mentoring isn't about someone holding your hand and promoting your career-it's about your actively seeking the skills you need to grow. The first step: Think broadly about the kind of expertise-emotional and technical-you'd like to acquire. Maybe you want to be a better manager or team player or learn how to sell a big project. Find a person (or two or three) who has those skills. And go beyond the usual suspects in your company or field. If you're a history teacher who would like to assign more creative homework, ask that popular English teacher for ideas. If you're in pharmaceutical sales, see what your ad-sales-rep friend is doing to top her record. Get out of your comfort zone. You'll learn more from someone who's really top-notch-and if that means a white male (a description that fits a lot of senior management), then go for it.

Screw up your courage and say, "I've noticed that you're very good at X. …

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