THE BLOG
04/17/2015 10:05 am ET Updated Jun 17, 2015

Professional Mentorship -- A Double Edge Sword

In the business world and especially for women in large corporations, we are consistently told to find a mentor. At every conference I attend, the importance of mentorship for women to successfully navigate their careers is always a hot topic.

The down side of mentorship (the dull side of the sword):

1.) It keeps us looking externally for our answers.
2.) It puts another person in a place of authority.
3.) The advice can only take you down their path, instead of blazing your own trail.
4.) A mentor can feel like competition or create concerns of betrayal.
5.) It can limit you, because no one can create your vision for you, yours is unique.

The problem is that we can become dependent or believe our success is found from a source outside of ourselves. It is another "find your prince" and all will be "happily ever after." This is not to say that we don't need support, but the best type of mentor is in a peer to peer relationship. Peer mentorship offers a two-way street for encouragement, insight, and trust. Peer mentorship acts more like a mirror to guide and support us inward to our own answers. I encourage anyone, whether looking for a therapist, spiritual teacher, coach, or mentor to find someone who knows that the best foundation for your relationship is based on them holding space for you and asking questions that help you inquire within for your own truth and best advice.

In other words, find someone that guides you into self-inquiry, so you may hear your own intuition and wisdom. We all have it, we just all haven't been taught how to tune in and trust it!

"The Holy Grail is within you - find your Inner Treasure" ― Jay Woodman

One of my greatest business mentoring relationships was with a Vice President that I reported to many years ago at Xerox. It wasn't formal mentorship; I only know now as I look back, that he was the best business mentor possible. I was brand new to the company and it was also a new role for me. I was struggling with finding my confidence and felt like a fish out of water. Jason and I had a very candid and confidential conversation, where he only asked me questions about myself, desires, dreams, and goals for my future. He never gave any advice. He simply supported me by asking questions that directed me to come up with my own answers and direction. This was in 2005 and it was the first time that I realized and spoke out loud that I wanted to coach and support professional business women one day. It took me another 8 years to fully launch that new journey, but the seed was planted in that conversation, because he turned me inward to my own knowing, my inner mentor.

The upside of mentorship (the sharp side of the sword):

1. It can help you find your inner mentor or wisdom, which will always be right on.
2. You can create a vision for your desires, goals, and dream.
3. You'll learn to take action, knowing even a tiny turtle step will move you forward.

YOU are the mentor you have always been waiting for!