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Getting support

Getting support for your personal brand plan (PBP)

The mentoring role

Having decided to develop a PBP and having mapped out a realistic action plan, we need to put our plan into action. Of course it is up to us as to how we go about it – but remember unless we do something… nothing will happen!!! All too often we fall short of committing ourselves to specific objectives and as a result time drifts and we find ourselves achieving very little. As we have already stated, the process of committing ourselves to pen and paper in drafting individual goals can be very powerful. So don’t just think about it, DO IT TODAY and commit your goals to paper! You will find that it provides real focus and if you get into the habit of referring to them regularly they will help you stay focused and enable you to keep going even when you are feeling down.

Another means by which we can move forward on the personal devel­opment front is to make a contract with someone to help us over time. This does not need to be a formal or written arrangement but can be a simple verbal agreement with someone to act as a support or guiding source for your development plans. This supporting or facilitating role is often referred to as a mentor and it could be performed at work or outside by:

  • A close colleague or friend.
  • Your immediate manager.
  • A group of colleagues.

A close colleague or friend

  • Secure the support and advice of a close confident at work. This might be someone who has similar development plans or aspi­rations as yourself, or a friend who you trust a great deal. By working together and providing support and helpful advice and encouragement you can keep your energy up and maintain momentum to offset those difficult or stressful times when you might feel like giving up.
  • When thinking about a mentor try to choose someone who:
  • already possesses some of the skills or capabilities you want to acquire so they can provide some form of help or advice immediately
  • will commit fully to helping you with support and encour­agement – you in turn must also be willing to offer similar assistance if requested
  • you respect or admire in some way – someone who can be relied upon to listen at all times
  • you can fully trust and confide in.

Your immediate manager

If we have a successful working relationship with our manager there is no reason why we should not use them as a mentor. Good managers always play a strong mentoring or coaching role. Of course there may be occasions when we might want to be discrete about revealing long­term plans or ambitions with our immediate boss. Many of us might feel uncomfortable about talking about leaving our organization for another opportunity. Ultimately only you can decide if you feel comfort­able in developing such a relationship with a boss. But certainly there are many managers who make great mentors and can provide excel­lent support. But choose carefully.

A group of colleagues

A small group of working colleagues can provide a wider network of support for carrying out the mentoring role, provided that everyone is fully committed to the process. Clearly a group working in such a way requires a strong sense of mutual respect and support. Trust, of course, is again integral to any such group. You have to be fully comfortable that confidences will be maintained and that there will be no betrayal of discussions outside of the group. This is clearly more challenging to put into place but with the right people you can do much to support each other and develop a strong network of mutual co-operation.

Whatever form of mentoring you select, you MUST commit to regu­larly review your development plan with your mentor. It is no use carrying out reviews in a haphazard manner. We must be disciplined to ensure that we are achieving the targets we have set ourselves. Recognize there will be times when you will not feel like doing it. It may be the workload is too heavy and stress levels are high but a continued commitment will pay off – remember at the end of the day it is your asset base that you are protecting.

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