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Career mentoring is a win-win. It allows mentors to develop leadership skills and share their knowledge and experiences while mentees benefit in many ways – from receiving independent advice and constructive feedback to focusing their goalsetting and gaining valuable industry insights.
Unlike career coaching, which tends to be performance-based and structured, mentoring is usually informal and relationship-driven and can be beneficial for employees regardless of how far along they are in their careers.
We believe it is particularly productive for diverse talent to take part in mentoring, and the leaders in our sector agree. A recent survey of real estate organisations by member JLL found that 80% of respondents would like to take part in a cross-company mentoring programme designed to progress ethnically underrepresented talent.
Real Estate Balance already facilitates cross-company mentoring through our popular Speed Mentoring events, with many senior leaders from across our industry involved in our initiative, and we want to support our members by doing even more.
To start with, we have compiled some informative resources (below) which we hope will help mentees make the most out of mentoring.
We have also asked our inspirational mentors to think about some of the things that often come up in their sessions and share them. Their insights include:
It’s a confidence thing
It’s unsurprising that employees new to the industry or early in their careers can lack in confidence, and mentoring can be a great way to tackle that. Our mentors also report that there can be a confidence gap between men and women. This is by no means always the case, but it can be present when they’re the only woman in the room or the only woman on a team.
It’s a networking opportunity
Many mentees don’t realise that just by virtue of having a mentor, they are potentially expanding their network. The opportunity obviously increases for cross-company mentoring. Our mentors say that a mentee isn’t asking for too much if they ask for an introduction or to lean on their contacts.
It’s feeling like a fraud
Female mentees can be more likely to show signs of Imposter Syndrome (feeling undeserving of their achievements and the high esteem in which they are held) and the research backs this up. Women, and especially ethnic minority women, are more likely to suffer from Imposter Syndrome, however many of us will experience it in our lifetimes.
It’s up to line managers too
Arguably the most important relationship we have in the workplace is with our line manager, and there is even more of a responsibility for line managers to take steps to support the career progression of employees from underrepresented groups. Our mentors also report that many mentees aren’t getting involved in mentoring through their managers, rather it is often an independent initiative.
It’s all about preparation
It may seem straightforward, but our mentors say that they are able to have the most beneficial impact when mentees have realistic, clear and thought-through aims about what they want to achieve through mentoring. But it doesn't always start like that. Mentees often gain guidance they didn't even realise they needed, so don't be put off mentoring if you're not sure what is expected of you as your mentor can help you work out what you want.
Resources for mentees:
Coaching and mentoring guidance – A collection of free learning resources relating to coaching and mentoring collated by the UK government.
How to be a great mentee – Leave your ego at the door, be open and responsive and enjoy the process; top tips from specialised mentoring organisation Mentorloop.
Mentoring: it’s exactly what it’s cracked up to be – Don’t think mentoring is for you? Be convinced otherwise by this informative infographic.
What is a career mentor and do you need one? – A concise breakdown of the pros and cons of different types of mentoring, from one-to-one mentoring to group mentoring and peer-to-peer mentoring.
How to find a career mentor – Top tips for finding the right mentor for you.
Mentoring: a mutually beneficial partnership – An overview of the mentoring process and food for thought on what mentees can aim to achieve by having a mentor.
10 reasons why you need a mentor – Indeed’s expert guide for mentees.
A cheat sheet for getting the most from your mentor – Patience, purposefulness, receptiveness and more traits mentees should look to develop.
Making the most of coaching – Different disciplines, we know, but we think there is quite a lot of crossover for mentoring in this guidance from Alla Levadnaya - an Accredited Certified Coach with the International Coach Federation who has been coaching Real Estate Balance members.