In the 12 years I’ve been with AT&T, I have led training for a variety of roles, from technical to leadership, and mentored alongside them. I believe that the collective knowledge of those who have been around should be shared with the next generations that are coming behind us. Mentorship is a critical component of fostering this culture of growth, learning, and the passage of knowledge.
Finding a mentor
At one point or another, many of us have had someone who has influenced our career paths, whether it was providing feedback, sharing their wisdom, or just being a listening ear. When you reflect on those truly meaningful connections, a trusted relationship was formed that included a psychologically safe environment. But how do you find that for yourself?
Searching for a mentor doesn’t always come easy. Not just anyone fits the bill. You might think that finding someone with a title you aspire to have, an expertise you want, or a history that you’d love to learn from, is the end/all be/all. But I will tell you that one of the most important things you should look for in a mentor is time. Do they have the time to invest in you and build a relationship? Secondarily, look for trust, respect, and accountability – to really build that mental safe space that you feel comfortable sharing your career journey in. Simply put, are they a good fit for YOU?
In addition to your mentor, build a network of people around you who are aware of your goals and aspirations. You never know when they may have an opportunity to cheerlead your name in a conversation you may not be part of.
Once you find the right fit, you should first ask yourself, “What are my goals and where do I see myself in the next 2-3 years?” Once you level set how you expect to get to that goal, you can also identify what is stopping you from getting there. Use this as a starting point of discussion with your mentor – they might see things that you don’t, like what roadblocks are ahead. Being open to receiving that feedback is key.
You’re ready to get started, but wondering how?
AT&T understands the importance of personal growth and finding those who will support you in your journey. We have an internal site that helps you navigate finding a mentor and tips on building the relationship. If you want to become a mentor yourself, that’s there too. No matter what side of mentorship you’re looking to jump into, getting started can be as simple as saying “hello”!
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