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Early Careers: 10 reasons to choose mentoring to support you on your journey 

09/02/2022 Kieron Bailey Comments Off

According to National Mentoring Day, 93% of SMEs acknowledged that mentoring helped them to succeed in 2021. At Otolo, we propel mentoring for passionate professionals working in hospitality, so you can find the support you need and gain new perspectives.

Essentially, by joining our platform, you tap into a world of knowledge and training that is 100% designed by and for hospitality experts, from a beginner to an advanced level of expertise.  

As a mentor – Mentoring is a great opportunity to give a couple of hours of your time to someone who may want to learn from your expertise. And also, to receive tips in an area you know less about. 

As a mentee – Finding a mentor can help shape your early career in Hospitality, and understand the requirements of the industry from an expert perspective.  

Let’s dive into the secrets of mentoring and why it’s really beneficial to anyone’s career.

What is mentoring?

Together Platform tells us mentoring aims to connect an expert with lots of knowledge or experience with someone who has less of those. It works as a transfer of skills from a more senior professional to a less experienced employee so the latter can advance their career.  

While working in hospitality, having a mentor can help you grow within your company and shape your development plan. It’s always comforting to get others’ insights before making an important decision, or sharing your knowledge with someone who’s stuck in a project, for instance.

Why become a mentor? 

If you’ve ever had a good boss or mentor, you know the value for others and the great feeling of supporting someone on their own hospitality journey. Here are reasons why you should consider becoming a mentor.

It helps build leadership and communication skills 

Working with someone on their professional development sharpens leadership skills, which are highly valuable for any job position! Mentoring others then confirm you can effectively manage a team toward specific goals, an essential asset to advance your career. Plus, you develop precious people skills such as active listening, empathy and patience, all skills that are sought after in any managing role.

Learn, learn, learn 

As you advise and help your mentee grow, you also learn something from them. Never forget where you come from – you were a beginner, once, too! So, you know that coming from different backgrounds can challenge interesting visions and open the discussion. Mentoring can help you skyrocket your own learning curve – and is a great opportunity to refresh your knowledge grounds!

Gain new perspectives 

Have you heard of the reverse mentoring model? You may be an expert in your field but your mentee may talk you through the latest practices, especially in tech! Indeed, this is an area where your mentee can become a teacher, guiding you to learn new skills, new tools or new project management models.

Give back to the industry you love

The feeling of contributing to a great cause and doing good to your peers is rewarding enough to keep up the good habit of mentoring. Haven’t you ever thought that if you’d had the right guidance earlier in your career, you’d have succeeded faster? It’s a snowball effect, too – by helping someone, you inspire the next like-minded professional to do the same, and so on.

Naturally, build and expand your network 

Sharing your connections with your mentors and mentees is key to broadening your network. Professional and mentoring platforms, virtual meetings, webinars, training sessions… there are ways to share them around, so always keep in touch! In return, your mentees may have relevant contacts to share with you. Lots of things are done individually but connections usually help lead to unique opportunities – we never know!

Support your company’s growth 

Mentoring can help set professional goals and companies find that mentoring programs encourage employee engagement. Happy staff = happy clients! For effective goal-setting, mentors may ask their mentees to define SMART goals—specific, achievable, relevant and time-based. This way, the mentor can track and assess the mentee’s progress and identify smaller tasks to achieve specific objectives or priorities.

Why become a mentee? 

Naturally, becoming a mentee means having your own mentor and it will help precise the areas where you may need development, shape your career plan and feed your eagerness to learn! It’s also a unique manner to keep stimulated in what you do at work. So why become a mentee?

Become culture-proof 

Not only will having a motor supports your personal development plan, but it also helps you absorb the culture codes of your company faster – vision, training, diversity, people. Your mentor, whether he’s in or out of your workplace, has gone through the same challenges and will support your integration so you adapt to your workplace policies faster than those who aren’t yet mentees.

Gain new skills 

At this point, you’ve got junior experience, and it’s okay to not know everything. There’s so much to learn in Hospitality! No matter the choices that encouraged you to join this vibrant sector, always full of opportunities, you’re not alone in seeking specific skills to excel in your role.  Step by step, the mentor can help you develop your full potential or entrepreneurial mindset in the workplace, or even give you guidance in starting your own business.

Stay motivated, always 

If you’re struggling in your job or in reaching a goal, don’t worry. It happens to everyone. You can refer to your mentor and ask what’s the best approach to solve any issues you might encounter at work. Your mentor is here to support you, so don’t be afraid to schedule sessions! He or she will encourage you to face challenges and feel confident about your work, so you’re less likely to give up, and keep ticking things off of your to-do list.

Access loads of monthly events 

At Otolo, we regularly schedule mentors’ and mentees’ events to discuss career paths, insights or hospitality news. How to polish your CV and get hired in hospitality, tips to master leadership or the best bits of travel tech – we regularly host Lobby Talks, guest lectures, interviews… plenty to fill your cup for curiosity!

Finding your Club & Mentors – Takeaways from our live session on February 17th -17:00 GMT 

In this last session “Finding your Club & Mentors”, Craig, Lorraine Copes, Founder of Be Inclusive Hospitality, and Paul Spencer (aka ‘Spence’), Director of Operations at Locke Hotels and edyn group, shared their learnings to understand the benefits of having a mentor and joining communities to help you take ownership of your career development.

Craig Prentice, Founder of Talent Partner mum 

“I’ve always craved people’s experience, and after my A-Levels, I started working in toxic environments, learning stuff I didn’t want. Later I found a home of hospitality, where I learned from very good people. I was fortunate to build relationships, and in this industry, it’s all about who you can trust. I’m lucky to have some great people around me and I’m thankful it’s for having met amazing people.” 

“The key is to gravitate around people naturally. It should be natural, not forced. I met 3 or 4 mentors in my career, all teaching me naturally and representing my values. I don’t think we should put a label on it. And amid Covid, I started learning again, I’ve been taught some lessons, I met new members.” 

“Recruiters have different hats – a whole range of responsibilities and constantly speaking to people, hearing about their experiences, what they’re thinking about. I learned a lot from those people.” 

“When your values or what you believe is at the heart of what you do, I think it shows. When you have a purpose, you’re on the right path to success.” 

“Join communities. Getting to know people in a natural way, as well as genuineness, have been important to me. Do your research, keep an eye out there. There are companies that are doing amazing things, pushing boundaries, etc. I think people need to gauge what companies will do post-Covid.” 

Lorraine Copes MCIPS, Founder of Be Inclusive Hospitality  

“I went to university and studied logistics; I joined a venture pub company for my first role. I didn’t enjoy it at all, I thought it’d secure me a stable job, you know, as an immigrant coming from a different country. My journey has all been about the people I learned from. Modern mentorship is all about leaving the ego behind and rapport is everything: you can’t open up with someone who you don’t trust. Many people in the sector have been very supportive, and as a Black woman I had to find my group.” 

“Because Be Inclusive Hospitality was incorporated during the lockdown, we created a lot of traction. Lots of progressive individuals and businesses are connected. I’d say that your extended network is your network and I created a community that I adore, made of people who want to accelerate change in an industry. I go to industry events and people who are interested often start a conversation more comfortably. Creating a community is all about bringing like-minded peers into an industry. 

“Regarding Diversity & Inclusion, there’s a lot to talk about. In finding your community, there’s an element of research you can do independently. To find your mentor, your employer needs to tell you really clearly what you need to achieve your objectives. No business objective moves with a clear vision. I’d advise you to take action instead of speaking, recognize that your journey is your own, create your own path, remember that rapport with everything and if you see someone you don’t share values with, don’t force it.” 

Paul Spencer (aka ‘Spence’), Director of Operations at Locke Hotels and edyn 

“I found a home in hospitality at age 16, Academia would agree with me. I didn’t settle in school, so at 16 years old, I started to cook, I moved to France where I was an English with no word of French. I’ve been trying to find someone that would guide me. Early on, General Manager Steve introduced me to David. A great mentor allows you to make mistakes without judgement and sees your passion, and I think it was all about finding a friend in the industry that would help me.” 

“All of us are mentors and we all have a responsibility in the future of responsibility. As an industry, we pride ourselves on ‘work hard, play hard’. It’s easier to find a culture you can relate to. Who you work for carries more weight. We are still creating a culture of learning: more rewarding, positive, leading with kindness for people to fall in love with the industry. Once you find that culture, you start creating a community around you. It’s like taking the example of that crappy French book not translated into English: hopefully, the industry makes it better for our people!” 

“I went from a rebranding to being a General Manager: how was I going to learn, or manage people? Like Craig, I’ve gone through that rebrand. I think you should find who you are as a person. It’s all centred around organic kindness. How articulate and credible we are – don’t make it up. I’ve chosen three jobs that were wrong for me. With a bit of personal brand, stubbornness, career personality, I found my home in hospitality. 

“There is a sacrifice to make to work in that industry, that’s why you should be careful in selecting the people you want to work with. You’re gonna get it wrong, and I implore you to get it wrong. My worst mentor is also my best mentor, he’s the reason for the man I am today. He certainly will get referenced in comments like this (laughs). This General Manager didn’t want me to leave but never be afraid to walk away.” 

“Ask questions, do something. “Be brave, ask questions, have a conversation! I spend more time getting it wrong than right. The industry is for people, we are in the business to be hospitable, and caring. I’ve been in it 31 years and I still love it today.” 

Luce Watson, Head of Marketing Otolo 

“You don’t always know where you fit. When I started working in hospitality, I was asking questions and I reached out to like-minded peers in the events space. Early on, no one really guided me. I valued giving back but I didn’t know it was mentoring. I started getting more interested in mentoring so I connected with non-executive directors for mentoring programmes – I was eager to learn these gaps.” 

“The industry is very people-driven. Similarly to Spence, I’ve gone into roles that were not right. It took me 6 or 7 years to get comfortable in my career but that’s okay. It took me time to adjust to the workspace, relationships, be a kind leader, help people on their journey, let them know my mistakes.” 

“I’ve always been super professional, I didn’t let much of my personality out, but as I got more comfortable with my values, I took ownership of my career development, and I built soft skills.” 

“If you’re gonna mess up, take your ego out of it. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not.”

Watch the replay 👇 

We hope our speakers gave you valuable reasons to choose a mentor to accompany you throughout your career. On Otolo, there should be a mentor waiting for you, so take a look at our mentoring opportunities by connecting with our community!