Investing in Multi-dimensional Mentorship to Achieve Goals

Seujan Bertram |
 05/12/23 |
5 min read

Investing in Multi-dimensional Mentorship to Achieve Goals

No one succeeds alone. Successful businesses understand this reality and rely on board members and advisors to reimagine their offerings and revitalize their corporate cultures. Successful business leaders recognize the benefits as well but often shy away from replicating these advisory roles to support their own growth—and this is a mistake.

Everyone needs help with overcoming challenges at some point in their careers. But what if I told you this need is never-ending and that business professionals at every stage in their careers can benefit from mentoring? Many executives have coaches and network with peers as time permits, but amplifying efforts on both fronts is often elusive. This is unfortunate as multi-dimensional mentorship offers much more than most realize.

What is Multi-dimensional Mentorship?

This kind of mentoring consists of several elements and is often bespoke.

Multidimensional mentoring is a two-way street, where one not only seeks a mentor to provide guidance and insight but also provides mentees with various perspectives and experiences that can aid in their growth and development in multiple areas. It’s a way to expand your network, hone skills, and prime the next generation of executives for success.

One can have multiple mentors or be the mentor to someone else on many fronts. There can be one mentor with expertise in a particular profession or industry that supports career advancement, while others help with personal development and cultivating healthy relationships and a fulfilling life.

Having multiple mentors allows for more customized and personalized guidance, as each mentor can offer unique perspectives and advice based on their own strengths and experiences. It’s akin to having your own personal board of directors. In fact, that’s exactly how I view my own mentor team.

Your Personal Board of Directors & Connecting with a Cohort

Having a personal board of directors sounds a bit much, and it is when it comes to creating it—but everything after that point is incredible.

Your personal board offers each other a larger network of contacts and resources, which can be invaluable for everyone’s personal and professional development. Mentors can help mentees extend their knowledge and opportunities by connecting them with individuals and organizations from various fields and industries. And a group that has been brought together to amplify this networking capacity is something to pursue when you reach a certain point in your career.

I’m a member of Chief, a program for executive women to connect in intimate cohorts. We meet about once each month and talk about things that we can’t talk about in general. There are work concerns that are not suitable for conversations with colleagues and that spouses or personal connections simply can’t relate to, nor offer sound advice. And then, there are also life concerns as a professional woman, and in that space that intersects. It’s all up for discussion with the right group of ‘peers as mentors.’

When experiencing traumatic events, it’s life-changing to have a cohort at the ready to offer advice and support. A network to say, “here’s what we’ve learned from our lives, and here’s how this can help you.”

Sometimes, when reflecting on times in my life when I’ve gone through challenges alone, hindsight shows things I wish I had known. And I wish I had my board back then to offer that insight, as we do for each other today. Oftentimes, it’s not even about finding solutions. Some situations merely require authentic understanding and empathy—that’s powerful too.

This concept applies to all professionals, to both men and women, at every stage of their careers. But women in leadership do face unique challenges, partly because there are so few of us, comparatively. And then add any number of variables to that, including being a person of color or LGBTQ+ and the experience can be daunting without a support system in place to commiserate over struggles.

So, when should you start this journey—and how?

Start Mentoring & Connecting with Mentors Immediately

It’s much harder to exist professionally without a cohort than with one, so this journey should start today if you’re not already traveling the ‘cohort connection’ path. The experiences anyone has in the workplace come with their own unique challenges, making your mentorship journey a crucial one to set out on ASAP.

This journey is twofold and comes with guardrails. Learn from the mistake that I made early on during my own mentor search. I asked someone to mentor me, and I wasn’t prepared. You need to be prepared, and here’s how—when seeking mentors, really think through your ask before connecting:

  •        What do you hope to get out of the relationship—and how do you envision the time commitment on both ends?
  •        What are you hoping to learn from this mentor, specifically? Why have you chosen this person?
  •        And what can you offer in return?

That last bullet takes some thought, but it’s relevant to everyone. You may offer a fresh generational perspective on an industry or trend or have intel based on how or where you grew up, for example. Or maybe you bring energy and an open mind, seeking to both challenge and build upon conventional wisdom. Older generations have sought out mentoring from younger generations around technology and to understand the Gen Z mindset, for example. Life is different today, and that perspective matters in every business echelon.

Assets are subjective, and assuming you’ve done the work to pinpoint your mentor search, you’ll quickly sort out which lever to pull.

And when becoming a mentor, take an organized approach to help potential mentees frame their thinking and extract the most benefit from the connection.

But what if you aspire to mentor people, but lack experience in your current role? You can’t really set up shop as a voice of authority in that arena, but you can build your mentorship muscle memory in other ways ahead of time. This way, maybe a year from now, you’ll be better positioned to mentor that next new hire.

For example, someone I worked with and who ended up being really successful first-time manager, coached a sports group recreationally to build that muscle. Anyone wanting to enter a management role needs to find creative ways to manage others early on, and mentoring/coaching is a steppingstone toward it.

Not that mentoring is easy, nor is it intended to be—that’s why it’s such a great training tool for future management roles.

Become The Best Mentor You Can Be

Regardless of where you land professionally, just like mentees embarking on the mentor search, all mentors need to have a checklist of questions they’ve thought through as well. Mentees’ time is valuable too, and they could be connecting with a more engaged mentor elsewhere if you are not truly prepared to commit! Consider the following:

  •        What might this relationship look like from a goal-oriented perspective? What knowledge do you hope to impart to this mentee?
  •         How often are you going to touch base?
  •        What does success look like?
  •         Do you have the time to follow through on this commitment, or should success be framed in smaller bites?

Overall, I’m a huge fan of mentoring for reasons detailed here, as well as those not as easily captured. The confidence and opportunities mentorship has afforded me over the years are difficult to quantify but are acutely felt. It has created a constant flow of connections and collaboration and it’s something I’d love to see more people experience. It takes work, but it’s worth it.

Multi-dimensional mentoring creates a comprehensive guidance loop that helps everyone involved with achieving their goals and realizing their full potential in every aspect of their lives. I know I’d be lost without mentors, and I’d love to hear about yours!

Premier social media analytics platform

Expand your social platform with LexisNexis news media

Power of social analytics for your entire team

Media analytics and market intelligence platform

Enrich your media analytics with social data

Social media benchmarking
and competitive intelligence

Data streams & custom KPIs for advanced data science

AI, Image Analytics, Reporting Tools & more

Out-of-the-box integration with other data sources