On top of working a full-time job, finding a mentor can be an overwhelming task. That’s why some companies, like professional services firm AlphaSights, build their own mentorship programs. Vice President of Private Equity Micaela Amaroli credits AlphaSight’s coaching program for introducing her to not one, but two, of her mentors.
“They have opened doors for me in terms of connecting with other potential mentors and building my professional network,” Amaroli said.
There are tangible benefits to mentorship, too. In a study by the Wharton School of Business, 25 percent of employees who took part in their company’s mentoring program saw a salary grade change, compared with just five percent of non-participants. Additionally, mentors were promoted six times more often than those not in the program, and mentees were promoted five times more often than those not in the program.
Amaroli said women looking for mentors should keep an open mind and look for professionals without similar backgrounds or shared values. Yes, you heard that correctly. Different perspectives can bring new insights.
“Ultimately, you want well-rounded perspectives,” Amaroli said.
What have you found to be the best approach for finding and connecting with a mentor?
I feel extremely lucky that AlphaSights invests in its leaders with executive coaching resources. This has played an instrumental part in my ability to secure mentorship. The two mentors I lean on the most at this stage in my career were both introduced to me via the AlphaSights coaching program for senior manager and VP leaders. They have opened doors for me in terms of connecting me with other potential mentors and building my professional network.
How do you nurture and maintain that relationship over time?
With the coaching program, you have the benefit of structure and clear timelines for next meetings, which help to drive momentum in the relationship. For new mentors I’ve been introduced to outside of coaching, keeping things high-touch, but always thoughtful, is extremely important. When we meet for lunch or coffee, I always pick up the tab and always come in with the mindset of reciprocal value and purpose. In exchange for this intro or favor, I respond with, “What can I do for you?”
If you’re constantly leading from the front, you can create a foundation of mutual trust and respect, and avoid the relationship coming off as “tit for tat” or overly transactional.
Keep an open mind around the background or philosophy of a future mentor.”
What’s the single most important piece of advice you'd give to women who are seeking a professional mentor?
Keep an open mind around the background or philosophy of a future mentor. The best mentors aren’t always those who are similar or have shared values or background. In fact, by having a more diverse group of mentors, you protect yourself against “tunnel vision” and group think. You can think about your mentors as your “cabinet,” or group of trusted advisors. Ultimately, you want well-rounded perspectives.