The Magic of Mentoring – Part 2


Miranda is 7 ¾ and Stephanie is 84 ¾. This mentoring conversation might seem as likely as Depeche Mode singing about building a set of Ikea book shelves but these two females both learn from each other.

In my last post I spoke about the benefits of mentoring. Here, I look at the advantages of mentoring between two very different people.

Miranda is a digital native and Stephanie is a digital immigrant. Miranda thinks she might like to be Prime Minister. When Stephanie was a similar age to Miranda, she was acclimatizing to a new culture and country, having arrived in England as a child refugee of the Second World War.

Although they are many decades apart in age and experience the world in different ways this is the beauty of their conversation: they each get to learn about someone’s reality that is very different from their own.

When we choose a mentor we might gravitate to an individual with a similar personality who’s a few rungs above the ladder than us. Someone who works in a similar sector or who has a similar education.

“Work hard, and make friends, because friends are very important in supporting you.”

But mentoring conversations with someone who is different from us or who thinks differently from us can open up whole new worlds. It introduces us to divergent ways of thinking and a light is shone on what we didn’t know we didn’t know…

I’ve watched this conversation between Miranda and Stephanie a number of times and I love it for many reasons.

Both females are curious about each other. It’s a beautiful conversation across the ages that shows the power and strength that can be shared and given between two people.

And it talks about the important stuff in life, about what matters. Talking about being successful Stephanie says “Work hard, and make friends, because friends are very important in supporting you.”

We learn that Miranda thinks that boys and girls are equal. And that Stephanie grew up in a world where she knew on a daily basis that boys and girls were not equal.

In 1962 Stephanie started a software company and was regularly laughed at because she was a woman “doing men’s work.” She says “I had built a determination that I was not going to let other people define me.”

That determination paid off.

Given the 25% ownership by staff of the organisation when the company was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1996 over 70, mainly female, staff became millionaires.

Miranda thinks that women can choose the career they want. Stephanie blazed a trail to create the environment where Miranda’s view is now not an exception. The software company that Stephanie set up pioneered flexible working and employed women who worked from home.

We are all on different journeys.

The power of mentoring conversations helps each of us find the answers that work to blaze our own trail.

So, the next time you are looking for a mentor, remember to widen the field for whom you’d like to mentor you.

Meanwhile, do check out the new Netflix series as Dave Gahan pairs with Marie Kondo in the latest show of which people just can’t get enough – “Enjoy the Tidy.”

It could change your life.

It could spark your joy.

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