Wellbeing means different things to different people. For some, it’s about having a healthy work-life balance while others might consider good physical health a major marker of overall wellness. However you measure wellbeing, working with a mentor can improve your emotional and physical health while keeping you motivated and positive on your way to reaching a goal – both at work and at home.
What is mentoring and how does it differ from coaching?
Although coaching and mentoring are similar, there are some key differences between the two. Coaching typically helps individuals to draw conclusions and plan a way forward using their own knowledge and experience. Mentoring on the other hand, involves the mentor sharing their knowledge and experience with an individual to help them see their options more clearly. Mentoring is particularly helpful when an individual needs the input of someone external to help them set and achieve a goal or solve an ongoing problem.
How does formal and informal mentoring differ?
We’ve all had a conversation at some point with a friend, a colleague or even a stranger which has stimulated our thinking about where we’re heading. These moments tend to happen when we least expect them, and they can be considered examples of informal mentoring. We just happen to have been in the right place at the right time and were able to benefit from another person’s insights into a particular situation.
Formal mentoring is quite different. It has a particular structure and involves an agreement between two people, although this doesn’t necessarily mean that the mentor charges for their services. In a formal mentoring relationship, there is an understanding between the two parties around what each expects from meeting, how often they will meet and where, and what goals are likely to be set.
Tips for choosing a mentor
Know what you want out of the mentoring relationship
A mentor can help people to make positive lifestyle changes, manage their time more effectively, improve their relationships with others, gain confidence and even raise productivity at work or at home. Before you begin to look at choosing a mentor, consider what exactly you’d like to get out of the process.
Decide how you want to work with a mentor
You can work with a mentor in different ways such as email or phone, face-to-face or via a video call. Much depends on your schedule and where you live. The right mentor for you might be someone who lives hundreds of miles away so keep an open mind when considering how you’d like to work with them. You will also need to consider whether or not you’d like a formal or more informal mentoring relationship.
Ask others to recommend a mentor
Ask your friends, family or colleagues for suggestions of anyone they know who has expertise in your particular area of need. They may be professionally qualified in that area, or they may simply have set a similar goal and achieved it with good results.
If you are looking for a mentor to help with your personal or professional development, find out more about our elevator mentoring programme.