Just because you’re working alone; you don’t have to work by yourself.
We’re all “remote workers” now – confined to our laptops, either working on our regular jobs, or freelance, or “gig” workers. How do we stay motivated, on purpose, and productive in our new “virtual workplace”?
Imagine that you had a “guardian angel”? Like a coach by your side, cheering you on, keeping you on target.
Wouldn’t it be nice to know there was someone in your corner who was committed to helping you? Someone you trust, contributing to your success, without judging you or without ulterior motives?
That’s what I call a “Peer-Mentor” – a new twist on the traditional mentoring model. Peer Mentoring is a combination or confluence of two popular trends (networking and mentoring) regardless of the business or career you’re engaged in.
Peer Mentoring is a process through which people identify their own resources and those of others and then create specific strategies for mutual goal achievement. It is a new adaptation of the age-old concept of reciprocity practiced by all cultures. Usual reciprocal practices are implicit, whereas the Peer-Mentor contract makes the agreements explicit. The participants barter resources (skills, contacts, technical expertise, advice, counseling, criticism, etc.) with each other as needed.
The operative word is “peer”, someone at one’s own level, and not necessarily a senior or superior person in rank or position. The role of the Peer-Mentor is to keep the other on target, to help push through the fears, internal blocks, and procrastination – to believe in the other even when she does not believe in herself.
There are several steps in finding the right Peer Mentor for you and your needs, and then getting to work towards achieving your separate goals.
- First, set a goal. It can be short, as a one-month goal, maybe a small bite out of a longer, one-year goal.
- Then, identify, “what skills, resources, contacts do I already have that will help me achieve that goal?”
- Then ask, “what skills, resources, contacts, assets will I need to achieve my goal?”
- Reach out among your networks to identify a person who has some of the skills/assets you need, and might want some of the skills you can offer? (of course it’s much more challenging in these days of “voluntary isolation”; you aren’t going to networking meetings, business conferences, social gatherings, etc. So you’ll have to be more creative in your “search” – your online networks (liked LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) friends of friends, colleagues.
- Discuss the basic idea of Peer Mentoring and its principles. Make sure you both have a clear understanding of what this involves, assess what you each bring to the table, what you each need, how much time, effort, resources you each want to offer, etc. The more explicit you are at the beginning, the better chance you have to make this process a success.
- Finally, make a simple Contract/Agreement with each other. Each person articulates his/her goal – what “assets” they already have, what they still need from the other.
Then they each write down specifically what they will help each other with, how they will measure the “help”. Also discussed is when they will “meet” (on the phone, or video chat) to discuss progress and make plans for the next chunk of time.
Learn more here: YOU X 2: Peer Mentoring for Success