(Read Time: 1 1/2 minutes unless you are answering the questions at the bottom)
For two years I have been looking for a mentor, a person to challenge my thinking and broaden my perspective. At long last my search is over. I have found my mentor. She is 28.
Why a Millennial Mentor?
A millennial mentor was not part of my original quest.
What eventually became the relationship began as me asking questions to understand the motivations of developing leaders.
Here are some of the assumptions that we each brought to the conversations.
What I’ve learned so far
Having a millennial mentor is fun and it’s hard.
My mentor challenges my thinking and often my patience.
I defend ways of doing things that for me were always a ‘given’. Sometimes I come away with a new way to think about a challenge. Sometimes I don’t.
Another thing I have learned is that listening without judgment takes practice and that continuous questioning almost always opens up new ways of thinking.
Because of my mentor/mentee experience, I have gotten better at many of the things we often say we are good at, but really aren’t. Things like
1) Entering a conversation without any assumptions
(We subconsciously form a first impression within the first 15 seconds of meeting. This is a hard trait to undo)
2) Keeping an open mind rather than trying to persuade
(at least in the beginning)
3) Asking more questions about the context before offering an opinion
4) Explaining an idea from the perspective of why it is valuable for the individual first, and business objective second
(Typically I would discuss value in reverse order)
5) Staying calm when I really want to say ‘Seriously’?
If You Are Jumping In
If you are considering a millennial mentor, here are 5 of the questions I asked. They may help you make your decision.
1) When are you the happiest?
(Told me a lot about how engaged she is with the world. Her answer was NOT binge watching Netflix….)
2) What is the hardest thing you are doing now?
(Gave me a peek at the complexity of her challenges)
3) What do you want to be doing 5 years?
( Spoke to ambition)
4) What is the one problem you want to be a part of solving?
(Alignment of values)
5) What are 3 things you think are important for my generation to learn or do?
Bonus question: What can I help you with?
This relationship has helped me understand how millennials think and approach challenges. Our conversations continue to push me to be more expansive and to pause before I start on a task and ask,
- How can I do this differently?
- What new resources can I use?
- How do I find them?
- Is there technology that can help?
I have learned a lot, and so far, I’m enjoying the ride…
P.S. Still looking a ‘generationally compatible’ mentor.
Could it be you?
If you are interested, please answer questions 1- 4 above
and substitute this for #5:
What is the one thing in your career you are most proud of?
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Was this helpful? I’d love to know.
Marti Fischer Group
Until next month…