Think Outside the Box How a Person Who is Blind or Visually Impaired Can Seek Mentors (Streaming audio)
When you think about mentorship, what comes to mind? Sitting across from your direct supervisor as she provides performance feedback? A mentor who meets you bi-weekly in his office, as required by your organization? A monthly group meeting led by your branch manager?
Yes, these are mentors; often good ones. But let’s expand our vision of mentorship. Mentorship doesn’t have to be formal, traditional, or prescribed. Think with me about how you can glean from others, acquiring mentor-advice from a variety of experienced individuals.
Let’s think outside the box and come up with ideas for pursuing mentorship:
- Ask a specific “how to” or “how did you” question to a colleague you admire.
- Ask for feedback on your job performance from a well-versed peer inside your company.
- Ask for specific ideas or solutions from a peer outside your company.
- Seek the counsel of an individual who is retired from your career field or field of interest.
- Consider virtual interactions. Join career-specific forums or online workgroups.
- Locate an “e-mentor” and converse through e-mail and telephone calls. Of course, locating a mentor who is also blind or visually impaired through CareerConnect is invaluable.
- Build relationships constantly, even if you’re still in school. Touch base with the members of your network on a regular basis. Seek their advice as needed.
- While senior mentors and peer mentors are extremely valuable, don’t overlook junior mentors. A junior mentor may not have years of experience in his position, but he may have unconventional experience- engaging youth, upcoming trends, advanced technology experience, or impressive social skills.
- Invite an esteemed professional to lead a group mentoring session.
- Host or join a workshop where each member can teach in a specific area of strength.
- Ask a personal friend who has years of business experience for insight into advancing in your career.
- Read career-specific success stories online and learn as you receive inspiration and motivation. Read through CareerConnect’s relevant success stories.
- Take an in-person or online course pertinent to your career field. Your teachers can provide insight into strengthening and polishing your work skills.
By no means is this list exhaustive. Formal and informal mentorship opportunities can be created in the most unlikely places. If you have suggestions for out-of-the-box mentorship ideas, please share in the comments section.
Go, make connections!