To really understand one of the new rules of work, you need to know Kathy Korman Frey.
Kathy is an adjunct professor at George Washington University, an expert in women’s entrepreneurship and an evangelist for mentoring and being mentored.
Which is a key to success under the new rules of work.
The Old Rules
Eat what you kill. Every man for himself. Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.
The New Rules
Create networks. Your personal brand is the sum total of all of your experiences with other people. Collaborate. Mentor and be mentored.
Whether you’re a man or a woman, work for yourself or work for someone else – the benefits of having a mentor or mentoring another are tremendous. Kathy Korman Frey says, “People with mentors feel more successful. My specialty is women in business, and we know women with more professional mentors feel ‘just as successful’ or ‘more successful’ than their colleagues. Conversely, women with fewer mentors feel ‘less successful.’ (Source: Hot Mommas Project research with 269 working women). The positive psychology movement shows us that individuals with five or more close friends are happier. A similar principal applies to our professional lives.”
Now is the time for the Big Buts. “But, Michele, I’m a stockbroker – no one mentors anyone in my shop.” Or, “But, Michele, I’m a lawyer, and mentoring is just not part of the culture.” Or, “But, Michele, I’m a solopreneur and don’t have anyone to mentor.”
A lot of Big Buts.
The cool thing – if no one in your organization mentors, imagine the powerful impact you can have by doing the extraordinary thing – and how you will stand out by being a great mentor. Imagine how successful you’ll be. Imagine how grateful the people you mentor will be. Imagine.
And solopreneurs can mentor other solopreneurs – sharing best practices, helping cut through to success – an excellent business model. I use it myself.
Mentoring is a good thing, and anyone can do it. So how do you find a mentor? Kathy Korman Frey: “The simplest way is to talk with someone who inspires you. Attend a panel discussion listen to a podcast, approach a colleague, and ask them questions. There are many more steps I teach in class, but, this is the quick and dirty.”
And to become a mentor? “Call or email someone and ask how you can support them in their goals. It takes five minutes, but it can change a life.”
Both Kathy and I have benefited handsomely from our mentors. I wrote about one of my key mentors last year in Mentoring Mojo. Kathy says, “I have had many mentors. I subscribe to a ‘personal board of advisors’ theory. When I look through time, I have my ‘springboards’ and my ‘constants’. All my springboard are actual teachers, or are natural teachers. For me, these are always the best mentors.”
Kathy Korman Frey counts among her mentors new media stars like Guy Kawasaki and Sam Horn, and important thought leaders like Harvard Business School’s Rosabeth Moss Kanter. But Kathy also cites high school teachers, college professors, business leaders and peers. Obviously, Kathy has this mentoring thing knocked. That’s why she thrives.
As a coach, I sometimes find that clients come to me to be mentored. Young executives who are managing people for the first time, or navigating office politics – they use me, as a mentor, to learn how to move swiftly up the learning curve. I also mentor people growing coaching practices, and women re-entering the workforce after a parenting break.
I love mentoring. And being mentored. As Kathy pointed out, I feel happier and more successful because I’ve had people who’ve been kind enough to show me the ropes.
If you really want to thrive under the new rules of work, get in the mentoring game. Call one person this week and offer to help. Call another person and ask for help.
No Big Buts allowed.