Over my 40 years in healthcare, so many talented & not-so-talented people have contributed to my personal and professional growth. As a young dietitian who had academically excelled, I thought I knew it all, ready to conquer healthcare. In reflection, I realize now that the idea of seeking out a mentor never crossed my mind. Please don’t get me wrong, I did okay and many people “mentored” and “guided” me without the title or even my awareness. If I could have had a formal guide through my life; a leader, an inspirer, a counselor, a cheerleader; - what else could I have accomplished or mastered? Did this get you thinking about your path or the path of others? Who is out there that could inspire my life, or I could inspire? How do I start to mentor or be a mentor to ensure enhanced success for both? Maybe you are already mentoring or being mentored. What can be done to improve this relationship?
I don’t have all the answers but there are two great books out there to strengthen and cultivate this relationship. But first, how did I find these books? When I was first promoted to Vice President of Sales at BBraun Medical, one of my first hires was a sales representative named “Allison”. She had a nursing background in medical device marketing and wanted to get into sales. The region manager reported to me, and I was quickly impressed by her enthusiasm and desire for success and growth. As soon as Allison on-boarded, she asked if I would be her mentor. Allison shared that one of the reasons she came to BBraun was she had decided she wanted a career like mine – “she wanted to be me when she grew up.” Wow, that sentiment dug deep in my heart, someone wanted to be like me. Why me, a small girl from a small town? I cautiously agreed but had never been a formal mentor nor had a clue how to help Allison meet her life goals. I expressed my concern and she said to me, HER mentor, I have the perfect book to send you. That book began my professional love affair with developing and mentoring others.
Okay, the books! “The Mentor’s Guide” and “The Mentee’s Guide” authored by Lois Zachary. It is a guide for new and experienced mentors and mentees. The novice mentoring pair should read the 1st six chapters of the respective books before developing their plan in this new relationship. The experienced can use some of the tools further in the book to develop strategies to make the most out of this relationship. I am forever thankful for Allison and Lois Zachary as I gained as much or more from becoming a mentor. It is a basic easy read and you may be years beyond this book on the mentoring experience, but the premise and ideas will always provide a strong toolbox for getting the most out of your mentoring relationship.
Lastly, I want to thank all who take the extra time out of their busy lives to give a little of your life experiences to the mentees of the world. Mentees, you also make a difference in enhancing the personal and professional skills of the mentors. Don’t be shy ask someone to hold your hand through life – seek out your person.
A third edition of “The Mentor’s Guide” is about to release with some great updates for the new era of leaders including:
- Brand-new content on diversity, inclusion, and equity, as well as tools to enhance virtual mentoring relationships
- The ethics of mentoring, including how to handle common ethical pitfalls and mistakes
- Hands-on worksheets and exercises to facilitate the mentoring and learning process
For more on Lois Zachary, please visit her website: https://www.centerformentoring.com/about-us/dr-lois-j-zachary
Dietitian & Vice President of Sales, BBraun Medical