This week I had a chat with the founder of Meet a Mentor, Barry Cranford. We discussed all things MAM and mentoring, but one real area of interest was understanding the reasons that people come to us to find a mentor. Barry’s been keeping an eye on the trends around this…
‘Typically, what I see when people join MAM is that one of these areas resonates the loudest with them;
- They need help understanding their options and/ or learning more about a future career goal (e.g. to one day become a thought leader, a CTO, or a senior developer)
- They know their goal, but they could do with some help figuring out how to get there
- They just want to be better at what they do (be that being a CTO, a leader, or being a developer)
- They are facing, or anticipating, a specific challenge and are looking to speak to someone that has overcome similar challenges in the past.’
Barry’s also discovered, that as with most new things in life, the first step is often the hardest and sometimes people just don’t know how to start effective conversations with a mentor.
With this in mind, I asked Barry to recommend some questions people can ask their mentors to kick off their conversations. Barry had tonnes of great suggestions, far too many for one blog, so we decided to break these down into question sets for each of the categories above to give you as much help as possible.
This time we’ll focus on Barry’s questions for those people in category one… ‘Options’. Here’s what he told us…
‘I think, if you’re looking for help understanding your options, you probably find yourself in one of these categories:
- You don’t know what your long-term job options are and you want help to figure this out.
- You don’t know where to go next and need help to work out your short-term options.
- You know what your career options are, but you want to know more about what those jobs entail.
For those of you who find yourselves in categories 1&2 above, we recommend you start with question set A.
However, if you’ve already got a good idea what you want to do, so you’re in category three, skip straight to question set B.
Question Set A:
- Could you list what options are available in 5-10 years for someone that has my experience level? E.g. what job titles
- Could you list what options I have for my next role based on my experience to date?
- In your experience how do the options/jobs differ from each other? Would you have a personal recommendation for which job to aim for?
- Have you met anyone that has had my level of experience in this industry? What job did they end up doing? Were they happy?
Question Set B:
- What is your role all about? Would you mind describing what it’s like day-to-day? What is a typical day for you?
- What are some of the highlights of the role?
- What are the most positive aspects of the role compared to other roles you’ve experienced?
- What are some of the more negative parts of the role compared to other roles you’ve experienced?
- What was it like coming into the role?
- Do you have any thoughts on the future of your role?’
Hopefully this has been useful for those of you wanting to work through your options. Next time, we’re going to look at Barry’s tips for those wanting help to navigate the best route to their goal.
In the meantime, take a look at our website and sign up for one of our experienced, friendly and free mentors https://meetamentor.co.uk/