Emma Johnson, Consultant

Mentor

Having worked in the media industry for over 20 years, mentoring became a natural next step due to it being such an important part of people’s development.

Out-of-team perspective

I have been lucky enough to be able to mentor people in a number of different capacities over the years. While working in organisations there have been many opportunities to mentor people within the company and work with people who are looking to grow within their role and would benefit from a relationship outside of the manager/direct report dynamic. This can be really supportive for the individual to have an out-of-team perspective and an extended relationship beyond their manager and team members. I found it to be a critical role for supporting people in their growth, helping them to develop confidence, decision making, critical skills thinking and supporting people to focus on their career aspirations to name but a few benefits. 

Later on, while working as a consultant trainer I have sometimes been approached by a would-be mentee who has asked if I would be happy to mentor them. I have found this approach has an additional dimension to the mentoring relationship that is different to that of a manager/mentor relationship. Being an external mentor means you might discuss and focus on a wider set of goals and objectives for the mentee but it also allows you as the mentor to have much more objectivity while working with your mentee. 

Internal and external mentors

I believe that both an internal and external mentor add value to the mentee, so one is not better than the other, just different and will often depend on what the mentee is seeking from the relationship. An internal mentor will have an insight into the workings of the organisation and important stakeholders, while an external mentor will have a broader insight across the industry and offer a different point of view. 

I have always found the mentoring relationship offers opportunities for learning for me as a mentor which have been invaluable for my own awareness and growth. It is a very rewarding experience and a privilege to be part of someone’s ongoing growth and supporting them while they achieve the things that as individuals they identify as being important to them. 

Ask questions

If you are considering becoming a mentor it is important to be clear on what support you can realistically offer to a mentee. Ask lots of questions so both you and the mentee are clear on what it is that they want to work on and how it is you are able to help. Make sure you can set aside an appropriate amount of time to dedicate to your mentee.  Be honest in sharing your experiences (both good and bad) and finally be generous with helping people to connect, explore, reflect and create focus on the people and things that are important to their growth. 

Last updated 07 December 2023