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....to ask someone to be my mentor?

(49 Posts)
BibiBlocksberg Tue 09-Aug-11 21:10:25

Now, this probably belongs in the work chat area but you are my trusted MN advisers, AIBU is famously ruthless and gets lots of traffic to boot smile

So, I am not a person who has ever had hero's or people I even look up to particularly.

However, there is a person where I work who I do very much admire for their professionalism and all round 'lust for life'.

This person is the CEO of the company I work for but has nothing to do with the section I work in on a daily basis, is not connected to my boss etc.

So, I found myself thinking tonight that I could learn a hell of a lot from him, especially if I plan to stay with the company. My current role is also a dead end and I don't want to continue on that path forever.

I'm proposing asking him to act as a mentor for a period of six months, with monthly meetings - for me to ask the burning questions I have and for him to supply the answers (with searing honesty if need be)

Please tell me, would asking him make me a really sad weirdo? I don't often have ideas/insights like this and it would take all the courage (i haven't really got) to actually go through with this.

Searing honesty invited and appreciated. Thank you! smile

ZillionChocolate Tue 09-Aug-11 21:14:55

Worst thing that can happen is he says no/you don't find it very useful. Neither is the end of the world. I think he might be flattered. Make sure you put lots of thought/research into what you want out of it, and how it might be on benefit to him/the company.

noviceoftheday Tue 09-Aug-11 21:17:48

Great idea! I am often asked to mentor and am always flattered to be asked. I always respond better to people who can articulate why they have asked me of all people and what they want to get out of the mentor/mentee relationship. Makes it easy for me to see how can I help. Best of luck.

noviceoftheday Tue 09-Aug-11 21:17:50

Great idea! I am often asked to mentor and am always flattered to be asked. I always respond better to people who can articulate why they have asked me of all people and what they want to get out of the mentor/mentee relationship. Makes it easy for me to see how can I help. Best of luck.

Cloudbase Tue 09-Aug-11 21:18:15

Think it's a great idea. So long as you do your homework before you approach him, I would imagine that he would be both flattered and impressed by your drive and enthusiasm. In my experience, most people working at that level have had mentors themselves in the past. And if he's half as good as you think he is, he will be delighted to discover that he has a staff member who is so enthused by work/life. Go for it, and Good Luck!

BibiBlocksberg Tue 09-Aug-11 21:31:27

Thank you all! I do need to work on exactly what I'm hoping to get out of the arrangement so he knows if he's happy/willing/able to give what I'm asking for.

Nothing comes from nothing so will def. ask him I think smile

Goodness, feels very very strange to be the driver of my own destiny these days. All thanks to this wonderful place (gush)

Bit scared of what will happen if my own boss finds out but he's just not the person I can/would ever go to for this kind of stuff. Oh well, courage <pours more wine>

LolaRennt Tue 09-Aug-11 21:38:49

If your own boss commenets, mention you felt you could get more out of the situation with someone who wasn't directly dealing with your job? Or something like that.

ImperialBlether Tue 09-Aug-11 21:40:23

Is it realistic that the CEO of your company will agree to mentor you?

BibiBlocksberg Tue 09-Aug-11 21:56:42

LolaRennt - great idea especially since the annual reviews are coming up!

ImperialBlether - in this case I do since we're quite a small company and I do know him well-ish.

Meaning that he's not so entrenched in hirarchy as yet that the request would be impossible.

<doubts setting in>

Cloudbase Tue 09-Aug-11 22:01:17

Banish those doubts! Grab the opportunity with both hands! You go girl!(waves pom poms)

WilsonFrickett Tue 09-Aug-11 22:03:42

Do it! But as you and others have said make sure you do your homework and are very clear about what you hope to achieve from the relationship.

BUT I do think you need to get your boss on board because when you make the request, someone from his office will get in touch with your boss. They will want to check through 'official channels' that the relationship will be worth the CEO's time, that you are not on a disciplinary, that you are someone who has a future with the company, etc etc. So if you don't get your boss on board s/he will be caught on the hop, could react badly and could basically stop the whole thing.

BibiBlocksberg Tue 09-Aug-11 22:08:14

That's the decider then CloudBase - I'm a sucker for pom pom's being waved at me - believe it or not, they helped me leave a totally unsatisfactory relationship at the end of last year when proferred by kind posters on that MN section last year.

<makes mental note to assign proportion of future pay rises to MN advisers>

grin

Cloudbase Tue 09-Aug-11 22:18:00

Gimme B, gimme an I, gimme a B and I, etc etc...(twirls baton artfully)

BibiBlocksberg Tue 09-Aug-11 22:25:19

x posted with WilsonFrickett - more good points! My own boss is just the most uncommunicative individual I've ever encountered. More courage to tell him about possible mentoring with other individual in company <quake>

How on earth someone as lilly livered as me has ever got where she is at all boggles even my own mind!

Ok, pondering on what's in it for the mentor:

* More commited employee for company on the whole
* Greater knowledge across all areas so able to foster understanding between different sections/teams (sticking point for all currently due to lack of understanding)
* Able to use my skills across a broader range of tasks in the future

errrrrmmm........glow of pride of having been asked to share his great knowledge and experience.....

More thinking needed I fear..... <wibble>

noviceoftheday Tue 09-Aug-11 22:39:41

I think that's an excellent point about bringing your boss in the loop as your CEO will check. The point to make at your appraisal is how much you appreciate the day to day guidance/leadership you get from immediate boss (even if it isn't true) and think you would appreciate spending time with CEO who is distant from your immediate work so can focus more on big picture. Ie you need to be clear that if he wasn't your immediate boss then he might be someone that you asked so he won't take it the wrong way!

BibiBlocksberg Tue 09-Aug-11 22:44:47

Yes, see what you mean, noviceoftheday, feel like I'm making tons of excuses but bit scared of saying that, since immediate boss is not fond of his staff mixing with and acquiring too much knowledge wrt the rest of the business (there's a lot of 'us' and 'them' politics where I work, sadly)

noviceoftheday Tue 09-Aug-11 22:57:58

Ah. Could you speak to CEO first and then immediately speak to your boss so that the latter doesn't hear it from CEO first and shaft you?

WilsonFrickett Wed 10-Aug-11 00:08:22

Does your company have a mentoring policy? If not, might it be a feather in your boss's cap to 'set one up' with you as flagship employee being mentored by CEO, with resulting love and prestige flowing through his department?..

ImperialBlether Wed 10-Aug-11 10:37:24

I'm still really unsure about this. Surely your own immediate manager or another sideways manager would be the best person to mentor you?

I think other employees would think it was very strange if the CEO was mentoring someone at your level.

Likewise, I think the CEO would think it was really inappropriate for you to ask him to mentor you.

You could ask for a mentoring system to be set up, but I really don't think it would be the CEO who's your mentor, unless he's everyone's.

ImperialBlether Wed 10-Aug-11 10:38:51

Isn't it a bit like someone in Virgin asking Branson to be their mentor? Of course yours is on a smaller scale, but surely the reaction would be "Well, yes, of course that's what you'd LIKE, but why would he mentor you when he hasn't even promoted you?"

Guitargirl Wed 10-Aug-11 10:44:53

Am with Imperial - something like this would be considered highly appropriate where I work. You risk alienating yourself from your colleagues and undermining your boss. And to be honest if the CEO of a company has the time to spend monthly meetings with a (relatively junior?) member of staff for mentoring then I would be questioning how full his/her diary is.

I think a better way to go about it as another poster suggested would be to suggest a mentoring system within the organisation and see where it goes from there.

Sorry if this sounds negative, am just speaking about how it would be seen where I work.

Guitargirl Wed 10-Aug-11 10:47:46

Sorry! Meant to say highly inappropriate!!

ImperialBlether Wed 10-Aug-11 10:47:59

The thing is surely that if your CEO had identified you as someone worthy of mentoring, you would know about it? Surely it's not up to the person being mentored to identify the top person in the organisation as a suitable mentor?

ImperialBlether Wed 10-Aug-11 10:48:26

Same in my workplace, GuitarGirl. In fact I think it would become a joke.

noviceoftheday Wed 10-Aug-11 11:19:10

I had a bit more get up and go than to wait for someone to decide that I was worth mentoring. Women are hardly ever the first names on the list if you sit back and wait. Also, speaking as someone who is now in a v senior position, yes, my diary is full but I will always make time for one to one sessions if someone asks. (I am on mat leave before someone asks how i have time to be on mn!!)

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