Short term mentors

Short term mentoring and coaching can really boost your career.

The best mentoring relationships last for years. But if you have a short term problem and need help now, the answer may come from a few short sessions with a professional, or someone more senior in your industry.

Ideal situations for micro mentoring or coaching include short term problems or immediate opportunities. Whatever the situation, a short term relationship can provide relevant advice and tips to set the candidates and employees up for success.

It’s important to understand that coaches are paid professionals and mentors are typically senior members of the same industry or profession who have insights to share.

Ideal situations for micro mentoring or coaching include short term problems or immediate opportunities.
  • Need coach now: If you need help with single issues and tasks such as securing a specific role, speaking more articulately, nailing reports, or even having a tough conversation at work, a few sessions with a paid coach might be the answer.
  • Give me a mentor: If you need advice from professionals in your industry or field, a short-term mentoring relationship will provide a safe environment where you can discuss issues affecting your success.

Career coach Michelle Mearns, director at coaching service TruePoint, was recently called on by a client who knew she had experience running businesses. Over six sessions, Mearns assisted her client by providing professional and personal advice, direction, and clarity, allowing the client to successfully launch an international business of her own.

Mearns says it’s not unusual for her to handle short term coaching assignments, and she occasionally mentors colleagues to give them an alternative perspective. The sessions vary in frequency and time, depending on her mentees’ needs.

For short term coaching or mentoring to work, both parties should consider the following points:

  • Be realistic about the objective. “What does the mentee want to achieve, and is the coach or the mentor able to provide it for them?” says Mearns.
  • Don’t expect your life or career to be transformed overnight. A handful of sessions won’t necessarily solve all of your problems in one hit.
  • Work doubly hard. Whether you’re paying, or it’s a voluntary mentor, show your appreciation by overachieving. You’re the one that will benefit and you’re giving back to the coach or mentor at the same time.
  • Understand that the best coach, mentor and mentee relationships are usually long term. Short term mentors and coaches will surely help with a single issue, but it’s important to acknowledge that the best relationships are developed over a longer period of time. When the coach or mentor and mentee get to know each other better, and establish a comfortable way of working together, that’s when the real magic happens.
  • Consider a long-term relationship. Once you’ve overcome the issue or crisis that brought you to coaching or mentoring in the first place, close the sessions and thank your coach or mentor. If you can see a benefit of on-going support, ask how this might be achieved.

Finally, never be afraid to ask for help. Even top CEOs know they can benefit from sharing their problems and learning to be better at what they do through coaching. So, if getting ahead in your career or personal life is one of this year’s resolutions, look for opportunities to be coached or mentored.