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Whether the virtual mentorship occurs in video conference rooms or through emails, the experience can be an invaluable tool for career growth and personal development.
Why One Should Consider Virtual Mentorship
By Steve R., Lead Major Incident Manager
It can be challenging to find time to invest in professional development in today’s ever-changing, fast-paced world. Whether you’re just starting in your career or currently working in a leadership position, we can all benefit from having guidance and support in professional life. That’s when virtual mentorship becomes helpful.
What is Virtual Mentorship?
The term “virtual mentorship” may sound like a new concept, but it simply refers to mentorship that takes place online. It allows people to connect with mentors they might not otherwise have access to, and it provides a flexible way to receive mentorship when in-person meetings are not possible. This type of mentorship can benefit both parties as the setting naturally allows for more flexibility and accessibility. Whether the mentorship occurs in video conference rooms or through emails, the experience can be an invaluable tool for career growth and personal development.
Why Consider Mentorship?
Great leaders have two extraordinary traits: an open mind and empathy towards difficult situations in teamwork. Like all ADP associates, I am encouraged to expand my skillset and strive toward self-improvement, using all the available resources and tools. This mindset has led me to participate in the mentorship program at ADP, where I met role models who demonstrated best practices at work.
Depending on the goal, mentorship may consist of a one-time consultation or multiple re-occurring sessions. An associate may also have more than one mentor over time as needs and career paths change.
I recently completed a few months’ worth of mentoring sessions with a VP from the senior leadership team at ADP. We had worked together briefly on past projects but hadn’t spent significant one-on-one time together. I learned we would be a good match for the mentor/mentee program based on the strengths that I wished to explore and her area of proven expertise. I soon initiated an informal mentoring process, and we began working towards my professional goals from there.
For those who don’t have a particular choice of mentor in mind, I recommend associates sign up for ADP’s formal mentor-matching process using MentorCliq software, a resource page consisting of a series of questions regarding mentee expectations and needs, and areas of interest.
Three Best Practices in Virtual Mentorship
Since my mentor and I were in two separate locations, we used Webex Meetings throughout the process. Through face-to-face conversations are typically preferable, the virtual setting offered a level of comfort for me.
I came prepared with discussion topics and specific questions each time we met. The virtual option vastly expands the range of choices for mentoring connections. Associates are no longer limited to mentorship choices within the same office, and there are endless opportunities for a good mentor/mentee match. The virtual option is especially beneficial for full-time associates who work from home and across different time zones.
#1 Set Timeline and Goals
The number one thing to consider is to plan for the call. My mentor and I met bi-weekly, getting familiar and discussing each other’s career paths; past, present, and future. For those who read my previous blog on my career journey, I focus on a leadership-focused career path and set my goal to be joining a part of ADP’s senior leadership team in the future. I learned from my mentor that the ADP ecosystem offers a multitude of communication-based career paths, which provide leadership opportunities. As communication is not only a strength for me but also something I enjoy, my excitement has grown, and I look forward to what lies ahead.
#2 Transparent Communication
My mentor was kind, patient, and willing to help me grow. During our virtual time together, I never felt that I had less of her attention and personal investment in the conversations. We made a professional connection, and she genuinely cared about my success, making our time together more than worthwhile. I wouldn’t say the virtual setting presented many challenges for us. If anything, it made communications more accessible and working together flexible, meaning talking about expectations and going over company resources.
#3 Listen and Be Ready to Learn
Conflict in the professional world is inevitable. During my mentorship experience, I had an instance where I had different opinions from a fellow associate. While I had consulted with my leader on the best way forward, I sought advice from my mentor. She was insightful and shared examples of similar experiences in her past.
Her understanding, empathy, and professional leadership gave me support. The input I received allowed me to consider factors that I had not before to refine the solution I’d been working on and make team communication more effective. Not only did both my team leader and mentor’s verbal feedback help me resolve the conflict, but it also led me to form a stronger bond with the other associate.
One piece of advice for future associates is to take full advantage of the mentorship program or any organic mentorship opportunities. The availability to build upon the foundation of experience led by tenured ADP associates is priceless. Simply reaching out to a leader and expressing your interest in learning and working together would be a great start.
My virtual mentorship experience has allowed me to gain insight and perspectives from my mentor leading different teams. Having the opportunity to seek out non-biased input from others is always refreshing. I look forward to leveraging my own experiences and knowledge to guide other associates, whether with career development, conflict resolution, or personal growth. When given the opportunity, I will be participating in the ADP mentorship program in the future, and next time, as a mentor!
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