Good mentors invite, empower, and inspire their mentee to step boldly into the future. In describing how her mentor accomplished this, one mentee said, “. . . seeing you move always to higher ground… gives me a vision of my future.”In sharing their unique story, modeling positive behavior, and holding up a mirror, mentors help mentees expand their thinking and consider new possibilities for personal and professional development.

Karen’s mentor, Vicki, was a successful account manager in the company. Karen was eager to learn everything about about how Vicki got started, what she had to learn, what the career path looked like and what it took for a woman to succeed in a male-dominated industry. Vicki described her journey, her struggles and her successes. She also reflected on the trends in the industry and where she saw it headed in the next 5-10 years. Karen was intrigued and wanted to learn more.

Vicki suggested that Karen talk with other female account managers about their careers. Together they came up with a list of questions that would shed some light on the skills, competencies, talents and behaviors that led to career success for these women. Vicki made a few calls and Karen set up appointments to interview the women on the list.

At their next meeting, Karen reported on her findings. With this information in hand the conversation deepened. They began talking about how to create a path for Karen’s future development and growth in earnest.

In what specific ways are you creating a sense of the possible for your mentee?

For more information: Mentoring Excellence Toolkit #2: Facilitation and Feedback for Mentors