a learning plan to continue your professional development.
relationship has come to an end, leaving you with a choice. You can treat
the experience as a onetime event in your career, or you can use it as
a springboard to launch the next stage of your professional development.
The challenges that lie before you may seem daunting now that you are
without a mentor. But remember that even with a mentor, you were always
responsible for your professional growth.
When you became a protege, you made a commitment to yourself to open up
to new possibilities, take risks, and learn from every experience. Without
a mentor as your personal advocate, you need to find a way to maintain
your passion for learning and development. Begin by asking yourself questions
that will help you sustain your commitment:
- What was
the one aspect of my development during my mentoring experience that
I want to continue cultivating over the next six months to a year?
- How will
focusing on that aspect make me more successful and influence the contribution
that I want to make to the organization?
- What are
my risks if I stop right now, and what will I gain if I press on?
in your commitment to continue on your professional growth path, you're
now ready to take a strategic view of your development and chart its direction.
The direction that your growth takes can be captured in a learning plan
that you create and manage. The plan should be an outgrowth of an assessment
that you make of your mentoring experience, so take stock of your mentoring
outcomes. What are you taking away from the experience that is most valuable
to you? What were your personal transformations? What did you discover
your growth edge to be? In other words, what is that skill or personal
characteristic you continue to resist or struggle with--the very thing
that will get you closer to your vision of success and achievement?
these questions will help you hone in on new avenues for developing your
growth edge. Participating in pertinent training programs, 360-degree
feedback, job shadowing, and a project outside the scope of your job are
just a few learning resources to consider. Show that you are serious about
your plan by talking it over with your supervisor and making your professional
development goals part of your performance review.
One of the major benefits of your mentoring relationship was the support
you received from your mentor. He or she had a personal investment in
your success; however, just because your mentor is no longer around doesn't
mean that support disappears. You can continue to receive that same kind
of guidance and assistance by enlisting a co-worker as your sounding board
or connecting with other proteges to form your own support group. Also,
depending on the direction of your learning plan, you may want to find
a new mentor, one with specific experience in the areas you want to develop.
If you had a positive experience and you feel there is still more you
can learn, you may even want to renew your relationship with your previous
the mentoring relationship is more than just holding on to what you gained
from the experience. It's about how you plan to build on it as well.
Paula Moscinski is an executive coach and senior consultant at Perrone-Ambrose
2 N. Riverside Plaza, Ste. 1433
Chicago, IL 60606
Executive, January/February 2003