By Gaea L. Honeycutt
While I was making plans for growing my business in the New Year, vcialis 40mg the Universe had something more in store. Unanticipated, but welcome, is my new foray into mentoring a group of ambitious, brilliant young women in 2014.
At first, if I thought about it too hard, the idea of going from a couple of protégés to mentoring several people at once could become overwhelming. Then, I decided to apply the guiding principles of the mastermind and accountability groups my firm facilitates:
- It Stays in Vegas – What happens, or is revealed, in the group stays in the group. We respect and protect confidential and proprietary information.
- Good Grace – Accept advice and feedback in the spirit in which it was given. Likewise, provide advice and feedback with the recipient’s best interests in mind and with as little judgment as possible.
- Consideration – We’re all busy people and doing this well requires everyone’s participation, so punctuality is important to the cohesion and success of the group.
Whether you’re mentoring one or a dozen people, each principle is relevant. Granted this is a bit different from offering services through my own business. So, having benefited from the guidance and expertise of a number of amazing people over the years, I consulted one of my own mentors. Heeding her advice, I’ve set expectations implicitly and explicitly, and encouraged them to create their own expectations as well, including:
- Reasonable Goals – One of the easiest ways to set ourselves up for failure would be to create overly ambitious goals, including meeting frequency and personal achievement. So, we gather as a group bi-monthly and focus on only a few goals.
- Heart of a Lion – Group members are here to support one another. Be courageous, sharing issues, challenges and successes. I believe it’s my responsibility to make the environment as welcoming as possible, with appropriate doses of cheerleading and tough love. This allows them to relax and open up.
- More Than Meeting – Connect outside of the scheduled meetings to support one another, strengthen the network and build lasting relationships. In this case, it helps that they know one another (some very well), so connecting outside of meetings comes easier.
- Get in the Driver’s Seat – Mentors often draw multiple protégés, so make the effort to initiate contact and set the pace for connecting. One of the reasons I agreed to mentoring the group was that the founders approached me and had thought about what they wanted to accomplish with the arrangement.
With good relationship management, a mentor can learn as much as he/she teaches. There’s nothing like a young, smart professional to turn conventional thinking on its ear. Next thing you know, you’re changing the way you do things and relate to people. And, certainly, the protégé will benefit from the wisdom of experience and introductions to new options and opportunities. Maybe, you’ll be inspired to seek out a new mentor for yourself, too.
Gaea L. Honeycutt is Co-founder & Past Chairman of the Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce, and President & CEO of G.L. Honeycutt Consulting, LLC a consulting firm providing business development and advisory services.