Having a business coach, and having mentors in your industry is great. But I have found that peer mentoring is also just as crucial. Having a group of business women from different industries has actually added more to my advancement than anything else. Knowing that what I’m going through in my industry is similar to what other business women and going through is the first benefit, and having their support. But the other great benefit is that, because they are from different industries, they can actually offer some really interesting suggestions that I wouldn’t have otherwise been exposed to.
Features and of a Peer Mentoring Program
Peer mentoring is a kind of mentoring program, which usually involves a smallish group of people at similar stages in their business who get together every month or every couple of months. There is also usually a facilitator. The facilitator provides the guidance, advice, and topics to talk about. The group discuss issues in their business and each get feedback on moving forward. They are in the position to provide friendly advice, positive influences, attention, and moral support.
Peer mentoring programs are usually run as part of a larger membership group, as an exclusive extra benefit. I am part of a peer mentoring program through the Australian Businesswomen Network now known as HerBusiness. BusinessChicks provides a similar program, and other business membership groups provide different variations, sometimes with a more structured education program around it like The Entourage.
Joining a Mentoring Program
Joining a peer mentoring program starts with the eagerness to be a part of a support group or program that is aimed at creating changes both on the life of the facilitator and the group of mentees to be mentored.
When you are ready, the next thing you should do is to look for a peer mentoring program that is suited to your interests. You can look for these in your local community, industry groups, and even online.