My Network, My Mentor

The dictionary.com defines mentor as 1. a wise and trusted counselor or teacher. 2. an influential senior sponsor or supporter.
traditionally implied a one way interaction from the wise counselor/guide to a naïve follower. However, the world we are living in is metamorphosing so rapidly, the pace of increase in knowledge is mindboggling, as is the complexity and plethora of information. Business heads and executives are changing companies frequently and most people are shifting careers a couple of times over their working life. Rigid mentoring systems of organizations are falling on the wayside as peer learning networks are taking over.
Today, we have a unique situation where it is nearly impossible to find a person who is able and willing to guide one credibly over the gamut of life. Therefore, mentor and mentoring as traditionally defined is now a construct of the past.
However the importance of receiving mentoring has not diminished. If anything it has amplified.
A shift in paradigm from “Person as a Mentor” to “Network as a Mentor” is underway. Instead of concentrating on a mentor we need to be open to learning from everyone we interact with. As Buddha says, “When the disciple is ready the master appears.”
From Dr. Pronoy Roy of New Delhi Television, I learnt “Smile and ask for your money.” From Peter Cox “Never do for someone what he can do for himself.” Pankaj Mathur, UshakKaal, shone light on my passion for processing and then sharing knowledge which prompted me to shift from advertising into and facilitating. From Prof M.M.Pant, I learnt about the new horizons that social media, apps and new training technologies bring to learning. From Anila Rattan, I am trying to learn how to step on a person’s toes yet not mess the shine. I have learnt from seniors, from peers, from subordinates, from acquaintances and friends. They all form my network.
As I look at my career, I can see various inflection points created by the many men and women who invested in me…however what’s interesting is that none of these were through planned mentoring programs, they were done in tiny slivers of time, over a cup of coffee, while waiting for a meeting etc. Every interaction is a learning opportunity and needs to be treated like that. As a mentor Prof M.M.Pant says, “When we meet, what I learn from you is mine. And what you learn from me is yours. That is the rule in a knowledge economy”
While we fully appreciate the value of peer learning networks and self-directed learning, we still see a role for formal learning. At Larks Learning (a training and psychometric assessment company), we create and execute a number of formal learning and development interventions. We as psychometric assessors use DISC profile to cover the gamut from assessing for recruitment, to carving career paths to creating development plans. And as facilitators we conduct many workshops covering skills as diverse as selling skills, , leadership skills and communication plus interpersonal skills.
Are you grabbing all opportunities to learn whether formal or informal?
Are you actively creating a network of people who can mentor you?
And, most importantly, are you paying it forward by mentoring others?

Lovely Kumar is a facilitator, trainer, psychometric assessor and heads Larks Learning Pvt Ltd. She has a unique background which combines economics, management, advertising, sales, teaching and training. She has worked with a range of corporates and academic institutions. Additionally she has obtained international certifications in training and psychometric assessments.
Learn more and reach Lovely Kumar at www.larkslearning.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter for great updates.

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