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How to find the perfect mentor (clue: it’s not a more experienced version of you)

September 20, 2019

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Why the right mentoring relationship could define your career

Now in it’s 9th year, Bloom’s annual mentoring programme opened for applications this week. Supporting Bloom’s vision that our industry should be one where all women can achieve their full potential, the mentoring community supports, empowers and provides
opportunities to learn new things about yourself and others. Mentoring has the ability to
unlock different perspectives and provide fresh insights into challenges others are facing and that’s why I believe it can be powerful. So very powerful, that my experience as a Bloom
mentor inspired me to launch our very own internal mentoring programme at Goodstuff, for
women and men of all levels and experience.

 

 In its simplest sense, mentoring is about having someone in your corner.  Someone who
ideally has relevant experience and shares similar desired outcomes. But they don’t need
to be just like you. Conversely, being matched with someone with a very different background, style or personality type often works surprisingly well. At Goodstuff we highly value individuals made of different stuff. People who think differently and
approach problems differently will get to different, more inventive solutions. So our
agency mentoring programme matches pairs based on a number of characteristics and takes into consideration background, experience, objectives as well as Myers Briggs typology, which can be an insightful tool in determining personal preferences and communication style.


When it comes to matching pairs, sometimes we’ve got it wrong and matched individuals
that haven’t worked out. With feedback we’ve re-matched and started again. Interestingly,
some of the most unlikely pairs that we have matched have flourished into wonderfully
successful and productive relationships. And just like I learned through my Bloom
mentoring experience, it’s not just the mentees that benefit.  Goodstuff mentors are learning
and developing just as much as the mentees and there is something really rather lovely about Goodstuffers nurturing and supporting Goodstuffers from different teams and forging career defining relationships.


As our programme matures and evolves, we are continuously exploring ways to improve it.
We provided training for both mentors and mentees at the outset of the programme and
have empowered our pairs to build their relationships without too much formal structure or
intervention. For some pairs it’s been effective. For others, the lack of structure has worked
less well, so some supported course correction and a refocusing on objectives they’ve
committed to has been needed.


As an independent media agency of 105 people our size and shape does mean that at a more senior level finding suitable matches is a challenge. To tackle this we are exploring some new mentoring territories, with a view to harnessing the power of the independents with a Goodstuff fuelled mentoring collaborative. So, if you’re from the independent agency sector and are interested in exploring some collaborative mentoring ideas together, I’d love to hear from you.


The Bloom mentee application window is open until 20th March. Do encourage any junior
women you know who would benefit from the support and guidance of a brilliant Bloom
mentor to apply. It might just lead to a career defining relationship.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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