WISE Within Featured in Sports Business Journal
Mentoring can be rewarding for individuals and their companies
Ah, the sounds of winter: basketballs bouncing, whistles blowing, ice skates — uh — skating. For some of us, that's music to our ears, as we coach our sons' and/or daughters' winter sports teams.
Every year, I assume my coaching persona — a wishful mix of Wooden, Knight, Jackson and Yoda — in search of that perfect blend of disciplinarian, strategist and Zen father figure. In coaching fourth-grade girls, it's one thing to bark out orders, but it's another to speak softly about lessons learned from success and failure, the value of being on time, and commitment off the court. Fortunately, my (female) assistant coach is much better equipped to nurture these girls on the latter. Even at this early age, you witness how people are more open to learning life lessons from a person who has walked in their shoes.
There's a difference between coaching and mentoring, whether in athletic competition or your career. Coaching centers on improving on-field/job performance specific to a pre-established role and defined responsibilities; mentoring offers context to this performance with an objective of both personal and professional fulfillment.
A valuable experience
Other benefits include:
An example of an organization that provides an external mentoring program is Women in Sports and Events. It serves as a resource, within the industry, and manages initiatives that enhance the success and growth of professional women. The WISE Within Mentor Program connects selected mentors (including men) and mentees in a guided initiative to provide career resource connections and support for women moving into leadership and executive positions.
Though external mentoring opportunities offer many inherent benefits, it's often one's first job or two where mentoring comes into play.
A successful relationship
For the mentee, it requires:
For the mentor, it requires:
As with any flourishing relationship, both parties should be transparent with the tenants of their association in order to avoid painful pitfalls.
"The purpose of mentoring is to grow the mentee so the relationship can end and you have an enduring friendship on an equal basis."
Finding the right mentor or mentee
Though mentoring opportunities present many inherent benefits to the mentee, it can also offer valuable insights to organizational needs, such as with training, career paths, expected entitlements, etc.
"A mentor/mentee relationship can open the eyes of the mentor by seeing the world from a less-trained person's perspective."
What to expect
A mentoring relationship can happen at any age. In fact, it can become more rewarding later in life as the rapport between mentor and mentee changes — and in some cases, even reverses. Mentoring is not for everyone or every organization. But if allowed to grow organically, it can offer a lifelong partnership that is rewarding to both parties.
"My participation as a mentee in WISE Within came during a very challenging time in my career. The relationships I cultivated then continue today and provide me with career support and resources, as well as close friendships."
Glenn Horine (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the executive director of Iona College's Center for Sports and Entertainment Studies, business development consultant and industry career counselor/lecturer.