The Oxford Dictionary defines encouragement as “the action of giving someone support, confidence, or hope”. And, as a professional mentor, that inspires me. In fact, National Day of Encouragement on 12th September has got me thinking about why encouragement is such a powerful part of the mentoring process.
You see, I’m genuinely passionate about people. I’d have been in the wrong business for 36 years if I wasn’t. I don’t suffer fools. But my door is wide open on giving practical encouragement and moral support. I absolutely love my mentoring work for hospitality SMEs, event management start-ups, PAs with a bit more experience under their belts, and event or marketing managers.
Here’s just a few reasons why I choose to mentor, and what I believe encouragement brings to the party.
WHAT MENTORING MEANS TO ME?
Anybody can share kind words of encouragement with another person, and I’m not devaluing the impact. But, when I’m approached about mentoring and I agree to take a mentee on, I bring a ‘secret sauce’ or unique element that an employer or a colleague or a business partner doesn’t have and can’t provide.
My mentees get encouragement that’s on rocket fuel, as a result of the unique insight they get into my years’ worth of experience in the business. That includes how all my business experiences have contributed to making me the person I am today, and not just the businesses I have created.
It’s like having a cheerleader X10, with me showing them the ropes and encouraging them to have the confidence to develop own style. And that’s key. Their OWN style.
WHAT’S IN IT FOR THEM?
My mentees (and their employers, if I’m appointed by companies to work with their employees) know they can rely on me for encouragement and support to –
- Skyrocket their self-confidence
- Level up their communication skills
- Start building a network or expand an existing network
- Learn how to see things from different angles in order to read people and situations, and to influence outcomes as a result
- Work towards specific goals, for example, leadership, business development or event planning
In short, I bring the encouragement and tools for my mentees to be bold and become the very best version of themselves. And no matter how young or old you are, it’s a work in progress that I’m continuing to fine hone to this very day. For the employer or their business, this translates to a better management style and skill set.
WE RISE BY LIFTING OTHERS
For me, there’s something very humbling about using my experiences to shape theirs. I do it with soul, just as I throw myself and all my energy behind the other elements of my businesses.
I’m known for telling it like it is. So, I don’t flog some sort of make-believe perfection. Because guess what? There’s no such thing as perfect.
My back story is peppered with trials and tribulations (as my biography shares), as you’d expect of a highly successful businesswoman of my age and experience. And it’s this accrued personality and provenance that qualifies me to encourage my mentees through whatever life throws at them. After all, we can’t always control the situations we find ourselves in. But we can control our reactions.
In short, it matters to the development of mentees that I encourage them to have the confidence to try and to fail. Hey, failure might not be the most pleasant aspect of life’s journey. But we can’t grow and evolve until we learn to embrace it and convert it into a positive force that drives us forwards.
If I can instil this into them, I know I’ve played an important part in how they celebrate the victories and leverage the defeats that we all experience. They’re life skills that you can’t necessarily teach, but you can certainly encourage.
You might enjoy this article – Benefits of Mentoring for Mentors, Mentees and Organisations by Indeed – which delves deeper into the benefits of mentoring to employers, besides mentees.
I’d also recommend re-visiting a couple of my podcasts that sit well with the theme of encouragement and mentoring, for example, Sandy Lindsay and Carole Nash. Both of these incredible businesswomen give their time and energy generously in the pursuit of sharing their own success levels with others.