How Mentoring Solves These 5 Common Problems for Change Professionals

strategy Aug 10, 2019
As someone working in change and transformation, it’s inevitable you’ll run into challenges at one point or another - either in your current change project, or with your career advancement. Here are 5 of the most common problems a great mentor can help you solve.

 

The HUGE value of mentoring

As a Change and Transformation Consultant, I get asked about mentoring a lot. People at various stages of their career come to me with their problems.

A mentee of mine recently told me about a job they wanted to move into, but were concerned they had a gap in their CV for this particular role.

There was a golden opportunity in the project they were currently running to step up to provide the evidence they needed for the application. They were so close to the project that they just couldn’t see it. But I could.

“A good mentor helps you see that sometimes making a small change can give you the right tools and belief to step up”

It’s not only career advancement opportunities a mentor can help you with. Here are 5 common problems faced by change professionals that a great mentor can help solve:

 

Problem #1. Feeling overwhelmed, lost and stressed

How Mentors Help:

  • Mentors draw on their own breadth of experience, and the experiences of other mentees, to support you with practical examples and tools.
  • They pick out aspects of a solution that can work for you right now that you just can’t see.
  • They can be a cheerleader for you and remind you of your achievements when you temporarily forget how great you are.

 

Problem #2: Your projects aren’t going well

Most change projects hit a snag at some point. Sometimes it’s hard to see a way forward. Mentors can be an amazing resource to call on in this scenario. 

How Mentors Help:

  • They help you understand how to solve the issues you’re having.
  • They have a wider breadth of skills and experience so can cast expert eyes on your project’s problems.
  • They're slightly more removed, but still have enough knowledge to discuss in detail how to move towards a solution.
  • When you're in a stuck situation, 30 minutes with a mentor can unlock the next three or four months of your project, saving you valuable time. 

“Working with a mentor is a great investment of your time” 

 

Problem #3: You want to progress in your career

Perhaps you want to progress onto a different kind of change, move companies or get promoted from project manager to programme manager, or even portfolio manager. 

How Mentors Help:

  • A good mentor will be able to assess where you are against your objectives and look for gaps in your skills and experience that are holding you back.
  • They'll give you succinct advice about how to close those gaps within the context of the project you're already doing. 
  • They'll give you honest advice and outline options you hadn’t thought of, such as identifying stepping stones to your longer term objective.
  • They have exceptional networks and can introduce you to the right people to help advance your career. 

 

Problem #4: How to apply learning 

We learn new things all the time; whether from reading articles, attending courses or hearing a great piece of best practice we want to apply. However, very often this learning comes from a place of theory. 

How Mentors Help:

  • They make theory intensely practical, helping you apply it to your particular project.
  • They only give you what you really need, instead of overwhelming you with 10 different tools you could use; they'll pick out the one tool they think is best for you and talk you through it.
  • They help reduce the chaos and clutter of the different options available to you so you can think clearly.

 

Problem #5: You need another opinion outside your organisation

Sometimes you just need another opinion. Say you're definitely going to do something, but you just want another, more senior opinion about how it’s likely to play out.

How Mentors Help:

  • They are a more senior than you so can share their experience of likely outcomes.
  • They have no skin in the game so won’t give you a biased opinion.

PRO TIP: You should never be mentored by someone in your direct chain of command - there are too many competing interests involved.

 By now I’m sure you can see just how valuable a good mentor can be - to your current projects, helping you advance your career, and ultimately create lasting and effective change.

 

If you're interested in mentoring, my new Change Maker Programme is a new Community, Toolkit and Mentoring solution that’s launching on 1 September.

There are massive pre-launch discounts available when you buy before 31 August including lifetime access offers for both the Toolkit and the Community. There is also a six month long mentoring bundle that is half price! Sign up quickly before these are all snapped up.

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