VOICE June 2015 - page 4

Why you should have a Mentor
A Mentor is someone who takes an interest in your ca-
reer and is able to give you the advice and support you
need at key points in your career. During the fifteen
years I have been a professional coach and Mentor, I
have noticed that it doesn’t seem to matter what part of
an economy you work in - or indeed where in the world
you are based - the decision to find a Mentor seems to
enable people to make better decisions and ultimately
become more successful in their jobs. In an overview of
more than 100 Mentoring surveys conducted by the East
Mentors Forum, nearly half of all respondents reported
that Mentoring increased their opportunities for career
advancement. Seventy-five per cent said the experience
was positive, citing higher salaries and increased job
satisfaction among the most tangible benefits.
For women in particular, the importance of having a
Mentor was further supported when I read
Beyond the
Boys Club
by Suzanne Doyle-Morris, first published in
2009. Within the book, Suzanne emphasises that having
a Mentor is one of the fundamentals that help women
progress in their career. She notes that women often
don’t seek out a Mentor in their early years, with an in-
herent need to be self-sufficient.
In comparison, I have often found that men seek out an
informal Mentor early in their careers. The Mentor is
usually a successful and more senior man who is able to
share experiences and steer the Mentee away from ca-
reer pit-falls.
When to get a Mentor and who it should be
I believe it is important to be proactive about getting
yourself a Mentor early in your career and learning how
best to get the most from the relationship by making it a
formal arrangement. This doesn’t mean that you need to
pay for a Mentor. People in senior positions in organisa-
tions with good self- awareness and a desire to help oth-
ers are often very willing to offer a few hours a year to
support someone with their career aspirations without
payment. So think about the people that you have in your
Never be
without a
Book Review
At the recent HR Directors Business Summit in Birming-
ham, I was fortunate enough to attend Lord John
Browne’s seminar. Lord Browne is the former Chief Exec-
utive of BP, he is now openly gay and author of
The Glass
Closet: Why Coming Out is Good Business
. As a speaker he
was very engaging and spoke passionately about the
need for businesses to continuously address diversity
and inclusivity. I left the seminar keen to read his book.
The Glass Closet
is the epitome of quality over quantity – a
short read but of exceptional value. Lord Browne is un-
flinchingly honest in sharing his own experience and the
book is very educational in terms of exploring the histori-
cal, geographical, political and sociological contexts in
which homosexuality and the
LGBT community have been
(and still are) viewed.
In addition, Lord Browne effec-
tively demonstrates, by inter-
viewing several people (both
in and out of the closet), that
being openly gay, lesbian, bi-
sexual or transgender can be
easier or harder based on the
industry the individual works
for, who they work with, or, in
some cases, their own fears.
Something I especially took
away from the book is the recognition that if someone is
going to great lengths to hide who they actually are, they
are unlikely to be performing as well as they could be at
work because their energy is somewhat divided between
two identities. Not only is this exhausting for the individ-
ual, it can be detrimental to the organisation they work
for both economically and in terms of how the individual
connects with their team. Lord Browne very effectively
explores how this can be addressed and who should ad-
dress it.
The Glass Closet
is a thoroughly engaging book
which both celebrates the steps organisations have taken
to embrace the LGBT community, whilst also highlighting
the fear and anxiety that is still sometimes present and
prevents the LGBT community from living as their true
selves. I would recommend
The Glass Closet
as an educa-
tional and fascinating read for anyone – whatever your
sexual orientation or gender identity.
By Stephanie Small
Values Based Leadership
Publisher: WH Allen
The Glass Closet: Why coming out is
good business
by John Browne
The decision to find a Mentor seems
to enable people to make better
decisions and ultimately become
more successful in their jobs.”
1,2,3 5,6,7,8
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