In today’s highly competitive world of business, having a mentor can mean the difference between success and failure. Whether seeking advice on how to better network with others, how to best design a new business model, or how to better manage your business, mentoring can help to ensure a successful outcome. Mentorships can help you create and reach career goals, as well as ensure steady progress in your professional journey.
Mentoring is a collaborative effort in which women can learn from and help each other become more successful in their profession. Women mentoring women is the key to developing and sustaining a satisfying professional career, particularly in a male-dominated profession. The mentor and mentee relationship is a mutual learning experience; the mentor and mentee can, in fact, learn from each other.
Mentoring and connecting with others enables each of us to grow, learn, transform, and accomplish our goals, as well as explore new possibilities. Whether you’re a small business owner or a CEO, mentoring can help build a dynamic community while ensuring the success of each person as she achieves personal and professional career goals. By providing guidance, support, advice, strategic feedback, and other insights to each other, you can learn and enhance leadership skills and collaborate for years to come.
In male-dominated professions, where women often face greater challenges building networks and embracing leadership strengths, mentoring has been proven even more preeminent.
A 2017 study by professional services firm Egon Zehnder found that only 54% of women have access to senior leaders who act as mentors or informal sponsors in their career. While advocacy and sponsorship rates decline as age increases, the women with the highest level of support are those already sitting in the C-suite. Also, only 14.2% of the top five leadership positions at the companies in the S&P 500 are held by women, according to a CNNMoney analysis last year.
This research suggests that if women don’t reach a critical threshold in their career early enough, they either stop reaching out for support or their organizations stop extending it. Because of this, it’s important women be more deliberate in seeking mentors and establishing professional relationships, as well as urging other women to empower themselves in the workplace by standing up as leaders.
Women often get less credit for their accomplishments and are penalized for promoting their work. To mitigate that, women should be mentoring each other every step of the way. Philanthropist and former Microsoft project manager Melinda Gates once said, “If you are successful, it is because somewhere, sometime, someone gave you a life or an idea that started you in the right direction.” Working with other professional women can energize and inspire you to take the next steps toward your goals and dreams. You can share insight and knowledge, grapple and discuss professional concerns, and encourage one another to continue fighting the good fight.
Although mentoring can seem time-consuming, it’s important to remember even when our lives get busy; we can always give back to help others achieve their dreams. That is, getting more people already in positions of influence actively supporting, sponsoring and guiding women’s careers as they progress through their professional journey, chiefly at the pivotal decision points, and maintaining a compelling presence in the workplace.