What great questions, Caroline. Especially the "how to use a mentor" question. It's a question not frequently asked.At Leading Women, we want more women to understand how to use a mentor, not just why. That's why our mentoring program is free for GOLD Members and is structured to help with The Missing 33% and P.I.E. mentoring.
Based on my research the vast majority of advice about mentoring over-focuses on WHY to get a mentor, the advice TO GET a mentor and advice on the PROTOCOL of a mentoring relationship (such as follow-through, have an agenda, etc.). There is very little written about how to use a mentor. That's why Leading Women's mentoring programs, my presentations and writing focus on how to use a mentor.
We focus on using mentors to fill in The Missing 33%™ and getting a slice of P.I.E. mentoring not just a piece of C.A.K.E. mentoring.
Using a mentor to fill in the missing 33% of the success equation means asking for help and experiences that enable you acquire or enhance your business, strategic and financial acumen. Women get far too little advice about the importance of this in building careers (our research indicates only about 2% of women get advice about the importance of understanding the business of your business.)
Asking a mentor to serve up a slice of pie P.I.E. means asking to learn about the fundamentals of business Performance, ways of enhancing your executive Image and gaining Exposure to the right kinds of opportunities, people and how decisions are made. When a mentor serves up a piece of C.A.K.E., she is helping you build Confidence, giving feedback about your strengths/Aptitude or advice to help with situations that are testing your positive Attitude, he is providing "K"onnections to Resources and Encouraging you to reach for an opportunity you might never have imagined. Read more here: CAKE and PIE
Most women receive, give and talk about C.A.K.E. mentoring. And we all know that C.A.K.E is a real treat. But, most successful men and women (including many of the F500 women CEOs) have received P.I.E. mentoring! The more women who know how to use mentors for P.I.E. mentoring and filling in the Missing 33%, the greater the numbers of women who will advance in their careers. This is one of my messages and the ways women can build thriving careers with no ceiling and no walls.
Susan Colantuono is CEO of Leading Women and author of No Ceiling, No Walls. She blogs on networking for PINK Magazine. Follow her on Twitter.