If you’ve already been in a mentoring relationship for some time now, you’re in luck. You’ve already put the initial groundwork into the relationship, know one another, know what it’s like to grow together, and are ready to take on whatever is thrown at you next.
It’s quite lucky you’re already familiar and comfortable with your mentoring partner given our current circumstances. When tough times hit, it’s nice to have people that know you available to provide support.
As Harvard Business Review writes:
Although social distancing is necessary during the pandemic, it doesn’t mean you can’t maintain close emotional and relational proximity with your mentees. Use this moment in time to explore new ways of staying connected, show that you care, validate feelings of distress, develop talent, and challenge yourself to get out of your mentoring comfort zone.
The Perks of an Iso-Buddy
At Mentorloop, we are now referring to some of our mentoring partners lovingly as iso-buddies, or isolation buddies. We have found that these relationships are more meaningful now than ever. While we continue to leverage existing relationships to be more connected during this time, we’ve also found value in expanding our peer-to-peer network.
That’s because mentoring allows companies to build new relationships across departmental silos, connecting people some might not traditionally consider an option as a mentor.
During this pandemic, its social distancing mandate, and the new challenges of fully remote teams and processes, assigning team members iso-buddies creates a sort of match-making program for businesses, allowing new connections to be made, new expertises to mingle, and new ideas to be born.
That’s because iso-buddies provide a new way of mentorship.
The traditional view of a mentor is commonly perceived as a “future you”. An older, wiser you that is able to pass on the wisdom gained from experience, unlocking secret doors to your future success.
Mentoring in its more modern incarnation, on the other hand, can mean pairing you with someone that doesn’t look like you—or even have the same professional background—in order to open new ways of thinking and expose you to the ways in which others move about in their personal and professional lives. And incredibly important when it comes to building more inclusive organisations.
This is especially useful in this modern world given that the pace of work is changing, technology is evolving rapidly, and a significant number of jobs held in the past—and even today—will simply bear little to no resemblance to the jobs of the future.
In other words, in order to achieve future success, it’s no longer enough to look back and simply follow the same path. Innovation and cross-departmental dialogue are more important now than ever.
Not One, But Many Mentors
Another approach we recommend is to have not one mentor, but many. We like to call this your Personal Advisory Board. While one member may resemble that traditional mentor we described, another may be your iso-buddy, and still, another may be someone junior to you.
The benefit of having multiple mentoring partners is that you have access to a range of people with different perspectives, skill sets, and areas of expertise. Together, they create a support network that you can turn to and lean on, especially when challenged with a problem or decision that would best be served by varied points of view.
As we’ve mentioned before, the best mentors share their experiences rather than simply provide prescriptive solutions and advice. By having access to multiple people’s lived experiences, you’ll be better able to filter out the lessons, apply them to your own situation, and gain the clarity you need to define your way.
Ultimately, a mix of different types of mentoring buddies can mean a more empowered and educated you that’s ready to apply the best ideas to move forward in your career.
Is your organisation in need of some iso-buddy love? Check out Remote by Mentorloop to learn how we can connect your people during these times of social distancing.