I recently read an article about the lost art of mentoring in the agency business.
It served as a catalyst to remind you how important our Account Management mentoring program is and why we do it.
First, we established the Mentoring Program for two reasons:
- I personally never had a sustained mentor throughout my career. As a result, I felt that I had to learn things primarily through experience and observation instead of benevolent counsel. Having a mentor offers an easier, better and more focused path.
- I truly believe that mentoring is a win-win-win situation. It helps the “mentee” become more proficient at his job, it is good for the mentor to “give back” by sharing wisdom and it helps the agency by developing the well-rounded, knowledgeable professionals we strive to be.
It’s a complement to training. The training we do is primarily about functional things – the “How To” stuff that teaches us about the “manufacturing” part of our job (making ads, writing decks, making presentations, understanding financials, etc.).
Mentoring is much more about coaching and counseling. It’s much more about the qualitative and subjective parts of our job – dealing with frustration, giving constructive criticism, handling disappointment, behaving with humility and compassion, etc.
It’s a responsibility we have to the agency. Part of what we need to give back to the agency is the development of people who can be part of and carry on the culture, so that future generations of people who work here can sustain the same mood, atmosphere and positive corporate citizenry that exist today.
Being a good mentor is a hard thing to do. It takes a serious commitment that takes precious time away from other important things – getting a job done, social life, family, etc.
It also takes an emotional commitment that is very much like parenting in its drive to help teach a child to be successful (even when the child/”mentee” doesn’t feel that he needs this guidance).
But mentoring is worth it and we’re committed to doing it, so here’s what I’d like you to do:
- If you are senior and aren’t someone’s mentor or if you’re junior and don’t have a mentor please come see me or Susan Foster to be assigned.
- Once the mentor relationship is established, go outside of the agency – for coffee, lunch, drinks and talk about the mentor relationship and what you want to get out of it.
- There are only three rules – the mentor relationship cannot be with someone you work with regularly, the relationship and its content are confidential, and you need to get together periodically (you define what this means) to do a “temperature check” to see how things are going.
I hope you take your commitment to mentoring seriously. It’s one of the many things that make The Martin Agency the special place that it is.
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