July 14, 2011
When your organization doesn’t have a formal mentoring program, or you haven’t been invited to participate, you can still benefit from mentoring. The difference is, you’ll have to find one on your own. How you can do that has changed, says Susan Balcom Walton, M.A., APR, associate professor of public relations at Brigham Young University, in the latest issue of Public Relations Strategist. Though her advice is targeted to public relations professionals and students, it is advice that any person aspiring to advance his or her career can use.
Balcom Walton asserts that mentoring relationships will come from networks that are broader. In the old days, potential mentees turned to people they knew well. But increasingly, mentor-seekers will find themselves approaching people they either don’t know well or may have never met.
She believes we will see more distance mentoring: successful mentoring relationships that exist primarily — or even completely — in the virtual world, with most exchanges of information taking place via email or social media.
“Situational mentoring” is also becoming more common. Balcom Walton sees this as a trend where mentees connect with mentors for certain periods of time or certain situations, rather than turning to one mentor for everything. Even so, traditional, long-term mentoring relationships will continue to thrive.
To learn how to find a mentor in this new environment, how to “pop” the question and anticipate some of the pitfalls of this new kind of mentoring, see Balcom Walton’s article in the July 12 issue of the Public Relations Strategist.