PR mentors are teachers

In the light of Teacher’s Day that just passed by, let’s take the opportunity to acknowledge mentors in the Public Relations community. Let’s also try and understand, what is expected from a mentor-mentee relationship.

Mentoring can help newbees grow as professionals. Wherever you find your mentor, you must be clear on the expectations for him or her, and what your expectations and goals are. Mentors can unlock your confidence and success. They also can serve as a resource for fresh ideas and advice.

Mentoring with a purpose

The PR profession needs mentors who mentor with a purpose in sight. In Public Relations experience-backed judgment situations crop up almost every day. After all, we are involved with a marketplace that is highlighted by human diversity, perceptions, emotions, influences and many other brand-relationship drivers.

It’s challenging 

Great mentors push your thinking to the edge and help you grow in new ways. Yes, they alert you to new methods and provide tips for how to handle various situations. Most importantly, these “tips” are often thought-provoking. So, mentees when pushed out of their comfort zones, may not like it initially, but it can lead to – improvement and learnings.

Mentoring spurs ethics

Decisions made with people we trust are more well-informed. And, we tend to make better decisions when we are holding ourselves accountable to the judgment of someone else whom we personally value, during the decision-making process. Occasions that call for ethical judgment come dime a dozen, in PR practice. Good decisions can improve vastly in detail and scope if vetted with a mentor, who has faced similar challenges in the past.

Ushers in mutual learning

Mentors also learn from mentees. By serving as a mentor to others, we can learn not only about our differences, but why those differences exist. Mentors typically offer a broader reality informed by wider experiences, by sheer virtue of age.

But protégés can also offer fresh perspectives. Their thinking might be unfazed by any bad baggage, which may hinder mentors. Having empathy for one another turns mentoring into true friend-building. These are relationships last for years, even decades.

Listen carefully 

A good mentor is a good listener. Hear exactly what the mentee is trying to say. Through careful listening, you convey your empathy and your understanding of a mentee’s challenges. When a mentee feels this empathy, the way is open for clear communication and more-effective mentoring.

Keep the communication channels open

The amount of attention that a mentor gives will vary widely. It would help if there is regular contact, so that it will be possible to anticipate problems that mentees may face, before they become serious. It’s not that only mentees who need help are those who ask for it. They may need an occasional, serious conversation too.

The best of mentors are teachers

No matter the culture, education, economic standing, the best of mentors are teachers. And, like the best of teachers, they ignite the imagination. The mentor as teacher encourages the mentee to stretch beyond the finishing line, as it were.

A mentoring relationship develops over an extended period, during which a mentee’s needs and the nature of the relationship tend to change. In the broad sense, a mentor is someone who takes a special interest in helping another person develop into a successful professional.

In general, an effective mentoring relationship is characterized by mutual respect, trust, understanding, and empathy. Good mentors are able to share life experiences and wisdom, and are good listeners, good observers, and good problem-solvers. They make an effort to know, accept, and respect the goals and interests of a mentee. In the end, they establish an environment in which the mentee’s accomplishment is limited only by the extent of his or her talent.

Here’s encouraging all those in our profession, who aim to mentor as teachers – to make a difference. So, then we can build a community that excels with efficient professionals. And, here’s applauding the mentees who can learn, explore and celebrate the community of PR professionals.

To conclude, sometimes you may need multiple mentors. No one mentor can know everything juniors may need to learn in order to succeed!

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Shree Lahiri
Shree is the Senior Editor at Reputation Today and hopes to move from one focus area to another in the editions that will be released this year. Having worked in Corporate Communications teams, she has experience of advertising, public relations, investor and employee communications, after which she moved to the other side – journalism. She enjoys writing and believes the power of the pen is indeed mighty. Covering the entertainment beat and the media business, she has been involved in a wide range of activities that have thrown open storytelling opportunities.

She can be reached at: @shree_la on twitter

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