Remember the first day of your very first job? It might be hard to remember now that you are established in your career and feel competent, secure and confident.
The encouragement you received might have come from a co-worker, a boss, a professional group or a trainer. Whoever it was, this individual believed in you and likely had nothing to personally gain by mentoring you, except the satisfaction of seeing another person grow and thrive.
Case in point: Jane, a young office assistant, was straight out of college and new to the corporate world. Sue, a seasoned executive secretary at the company made it a point to help Jane in any way she could, even though Jane did not report to her. Over the next year, Sue coached Jane on processes and procedures, familiarized her with the corporate culture, introduced her to other office pros, sponsored her to join a local professional group and wrote a letter to Jane’s boss at evaluation time, telling him what a great job she was doing.
The kindness Sue showed Jane made a measurable difference in Jane’s career. As a result of Sue’s mentoring, Jane was promoted to an executive secretary position. Jane asked how she could repay her kindness. Sue responded, “Do the same for someone else.” Jane followed that advice and has paid it forward with many new employees.
Tania Basheer of Blue Sky Coaching recommends a number of actions you can take to help another employee grow in her career:
• Show the person the ropes. Coach the person on the best way to approach people to get things done.
• Demonstrate by example how to grow in a profession. Show the person how to step up and build expertise and credibility in a new area.
• Invite the person to networking or professional groups. Introduce the individual to people who can be valuable connections and mentors.
• Be scrupulously honest. When a mistake is made, simply lead the individual to a wiser strategy.
• Positively reinforce achievements. For example, you might say, “You presented that material beautifully at the meeting, Jane. It was just the right tone and you were clearly well-prepared.”
• Point out special talents. For example, “You do a great job at keeping projects and people on track.”
“You don’t need to be a high-powered executive, national speaker or published author to make a difference in a person’s life,” says Basheer. “If your heart is in it, you’ll love seeing people feel good about themselves and want to return all the support you received during your career.”