The Career Conversation

Are you at a stage in your career where you think a change would benefit you, professionally and/or personally? Or perhaps you are just starting on your career path? Whatever stage you are at, a mentor can be an invaluable asset to support you in the commencement of or transition through this.

It can be so useful to have another person (a mentor) help you:

  1. Evaluate your current situation
  2. Explore what you want to experience and achieve in your career
  3. Make decisions about career changes you want (or need) to make
  4. Establish goals that will direct your focus and energy

As discussed in the previous article, your mentor needs to possess attributes (interpersonal qualities, skills, experience, knowledge) that align with who you are, your values, your communication style. This is fundamental. Having a worthwhile career conversation involves a myriad of these attributes from both yourself and your mentor, such as:

  • Care
  • Respect
  • Valuing what each of you bring to the relationship
  • Effective listening
  • Skilful questioning
  • Knowledge of decision-making and problem-solving processes
  • Feedback skills that is strengths-based
  • Willingness to share opinions and perspectives

Before you and the mentor meet, it can be beneficial – for you, for the mentor, for time-efficiency – to do a personal ‘stock-take’ of your current position and what you are thinking is your next career move. Ask yourself questions like:

What is prompting you to consider making a career change?

What differences will this change make for you professionally? Personally?

What values guide you?

What are your key motivators? What gives you inspiration?

What interests you?

What (if any) aspects of your career experience to date do you want to retain? Take in to a new career?

Another good idea is to create a personal skills and values inventory. This exercise will help you to identify and confirm what you bring to your new/revised career. Have a look at the 2nd edition of Mentoring News (May 2017) for Pam Finnie’s article “No matter what your age, you are a work in progress” where she provides a great activity that helps you identify your core values and qualities, then prompts you to think about how the way you live your life fits with these.

Categories: Career Development