Mentoring can be a powerful tool in today’s rapidly growing world. We are seeing that first hand and learning about its impacts on the people around us. In order to better visualize that impact, we have set out to bring those experiences to our audience. Our interview with Shane Purvis is the first of many interviews we seek to have with individuals who have been a part of a mentoring relationship and seek to share those experiences.
Shane is Small Business Relationships Manager at a major bank. Here is a snippet from his personal bio.
“I am committed to helping people grow their businesses by teaching them skills that help them succeed. Whether it’s helping understand cash flow management, introducing them to new concepts, strategies, or prospects, or finding solutions to problems, I’m thrilled to lend a hand.
Over the course of my career I have worked as a financial service representative as well as trainer. I have been a part of multiple systems conversions, mergers, and product implementation role-outs, taking the lead in many of these initiatives. I have also helped new and existing businesses get their start, expand, or find ways to meet their financial goals. Learning new skills and applications excites me and I am always up for a challenge.
The ability to listen to others as well as compile, organize, and articulate information is a notable skill that I am very proud of. Being able to effectively communicate why a solution would work best for a client helps to build trusting and deep relationships.
Lastly, I enjoy working with new people, being a part of a team, taking project lead, and networking with professionals of every industry.”
Hearing From Mentors
If you could share one experience with someone looking to get into mentoring what would that be?
From very early on, I was instructed to groom and train people learn how to do a job. Mentoring has been a part of every single job that I have had, but I didn’t really realize it until college when I got my first job in banking. Shortly before spring break of my sophomore year, my manager came up to me and she said, “Shane, I want you to learn how to open accounts, take loan applications and all that stuff.” At this point, I didn’t have plans to be in banking forever and or really see a future in it. She sent me to a class to learn how to do all these things: opening accounts, managing them and their whole life cycle, the whole in-depth approach to the industry. So I went to the class and came back with so much knowledge, actually interested in these concepts.From a very early time, I was used to grooming people, helping others learn how to do a job. Mentoring has been a part of every single job that I have had. - @spurvis88 #mentoring #limitlessgrowth Click To Tweet
Following that class, she began spending about 30 minutes with me each day and let me sit in her seat. I got to apply what I learned out in the real world. I didn’t know it at the time, but she was training me to take on something bigger… a promotion straight out of college into a full-time position. It’s nice to think she built me up for this position and guided me into a successful role. She saw potential in me and she kept guiding me into it and just gave me more to learn along the way. It’s one of those mentoring relationships I did not realize I even had at first but it set me on my path.
The point is this: to truly be an effective mentor, you have to identify that potential, cultivate it, and do so with a selfless mentality.
What are some personal values that affect the way you approach mentoring?
I adhere to my values in my brand. Everybody gets a reputation, and that reputation is something you never want to tarnish. What if you don’t always deliver? What if you screw up? Your brand is tarnished.
You know that if you are trying to build yourself in an image, it is just like building a company brand. Conducting yourself in certain manners defines you, your image, and your reputation farther than you’d probably realize.
I represent my company to the best of my ability, but I also have to represent myself and my own brand. I may not be with the same organization forever, and because of that, I need to have a reputation that speaks for itself.
My own personal brand is that I’m going to call you back, I’m going to be on time, and I’m going to reach out. I’m going to make sure that I stay in open communication and I’m going to deliver. That is mine. If I am going to take on a mentee, I will do so backed by my brand and my values and work to demonstrate that to my mentee. This helps to add to my own credibility, but it also helps to add positive traits to them as they develop their professional identities as well.
What are some things people should consider when trying to find a mentor/mentee?
First, you have to know who you are working with. You have to be selective just like if you are going to hire somebody for your company. When you’re trying to hire someone or find someone to help you develop you have to find the right person. That’s the first key. I mean I would highly recommend to anyone who is seeking out a mentor/mentee relationship to be selective.
Second, each person can learn differently and respond differently to us. You have to understand differences in communication and being able to identify those so that when someone comes to the table, you know what each party is trying to accomplish. You’ve got to understand the difference in communication styles. This is out of respect for the other person and the success of your relationship. It’s a part of the selection process. Do you communicate well? If so, then you can probably build a solid relationship.
Third, not knowing. The part that always has to be remembered by people in training or mentorship is that it is okay not to know. You just have to say you are not sure and you need to go learn more about that topic. It really gives you credibility by being honest and when you go and learn something new you give yourself an extra tool. What you know and don’t know is crucial before determining that you need a mentor/mentee and setting your goals ahead of them.
Tell us a bit about your ideal mentor/mentee.
I would say that to me the ideal relationship would be just open communication, no matter what that format looks like. I rarely get to see one of my mentors as we’re both very busy and in completely different lines of business. I have great respect for this individual and they have taught me a lot over the past 10 years. But it’s somebody that I know that when I really need to talk and I really need to figure something out or for you to get a little pep talk or ask how you can improve yourself in a specific situation. They are always willing to speak whether it is over the phone, after hours, meet up after work, or early for coffee or something similar. You know we can always do that so it is really just an open communication.
That to me is an ideal relationship, and one that I hope to convey to those that I mentor. Being available and finding the time for one another is important.
What expectations do you set for the mentor/mentee you are working with?
You want to find out where they are trying to go and what they want to do. You are not going to give them all the secrets of the universe right away. So you have to give them little pieces at a time and that sort of stuff. You kind of ease them into it to find out where their overall goal is. Then, you give them some starter tasks and sit back to watch if they can do it.
Mentors need to have a willingness to share their knowledge and know how to do that. Not all at once and not so little that it is useless. If you set someone up as a mentor and they have no interest in helping others grow then it will not work. It’s guaranteed to fail.
If both parties are coming to the table saying, “look, I’m coming to you to learn something and I’m open to learn it”, yeah, you will be successful. The biggest thing that any mentee can do to catch the eye of a mentor is to be able to demonstrate that willingness to learn and that you are here and ready to keep your head down, buckle down and work at it. Both parties should be expected to engage so identifying those expectations is really important.
Do you have any doubts or concerns about being a mentor/mentee? What uncertainties, if any, come up?
You have to be selective just like you would if you were hiring someone for your company. I can always remember going through classes as both an instructor and a participant… You always kind of see something in people and you see those who have the potential to do really well. You see those that stick with what they learned and you see their careers take off and they might far surpass you at some point. I saw that going to happen. It is a fantastic thing and you’re proud of that part. You are not jealous of that person. Right. But then you’ll see some people who you know they say all the right things, they do all the right things, they get in that position, and then they coast… they just completely let people down and you’re just like yeah I saw that too.
We have all seen it happen. I see it on a regular basis. It’s probably the biggest uncertainty or challenge I’ve come across: seeing strong characters and some potential you want to work with and develop, but knowing that it could go the opposite direction in a heartbeat. My principal concern is not establishing a common relationship ahead of time and someone letting the other one down. It happens. Those willing to work together will make the most their mentor/mentee.
Anything else you would like to add for anyone interested in mentoring?
You have to actually do it and take that initiative and communicate. Reach out and extend a hand. The biggest thing is that you have to be able to put in the time and it’s all about that because you can go anywhere and hire a consultant or coach to get help along the way. There’s nothing wrong with that. But it really takes a mentor in the same field, industry, or concentration to really “get” what’s going on and help guide that next generation, rising star, or high performer on the path to success.
I cannot stress that enough now. That’s what sets mentoring apart from other types of career advancement or skill development classes and tutorials. When you look at those who truly develop, you see those who have a career going from the bottom to a senior level, or maybe their career just takes them in all these different paths, either way, it just continues to rise and rise and rise no matter what that avenue is… That’s because they were mentored and now they are mentors.
If you don’t adhere to the process, put in the time, and keep an open mind to learn all that you can from someone willing to help, it won’t work. If you only do it for a little bit and then you switch gears it’s not going to work.
For the long haul, mentorship is the way to go.
Mentorship Benefits Us All
From grocery store clerk to, bank teller and now working at a senior level position, Shane is doing it all. All before hitting 30. Sitting down with Shane was a great experience and it really showed me how simple mentoring could be. Simple, but not easy. Not easy, but necessary.
Takeaway #1 – Keep an open mind; you are always learning
Takeaway #2 – Mentoring relationships are built on communication.
Takeaway #3 – Stick to the process and the results will come.
We dove into the mentoring process in the previous post The Unique Role of a Mentor
Has Mentoring Influenced You?
Let us know if you have ever had a mentor or mentee who has influenced your life or career. Reach out to us on here or directly via firstname.lastname@example.org
Kasra is Co-Founder and COO of Mintor where he is responsible for the operations and vision of the company. Outside of Mintor, his hobbies are playing tennis, eating tacos and watching Narcos.