The Importance of Mentoring Internationally

We explore the value of having a mentor or mentee overseas, how it can help you with career development and how you can find an international mentor.

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Mentoring is widely recognised as one of the most effective ways in which you can develop. Whether as a mentor or a mentee (someone being mentored), the benefits are far reaching and can truly help with career development, confidence building, learning new skills, networking and far more. Yet when we look at mentoring in the traditional sense, we often associate it with in-person, face-to-face contact with someone in your office. The silver lining to 2020 is the uprising in remote working and, with that, comes remote mentoring too. Whilst mentoring has been conducted internationally for some time now, a lot of organisations and individuals still aren’t embracing it as much as they could, or indeed should, be. After all, mentoring and being mentored by those in other countries to your own, come with added benefits and advantages. In this article, we’ll explore just some of those and why you really should find a mentor overseas!

Broaden Your Horizons

There’s no running away from the global world we now inhabit. Larger organisations have a brand presence globally, more often than not organisations are now looking at talent internationally and most countries are now influenced by international trends, technologies and economies. So, wouldn’t it make sense to ensure that you are investing in a wider understanding of the world outside your town, city or country? Networking internationally can help individuals to unlock opportunities, learn about different cultures and ultimately expand and broaden one’s horizons. One way in which you can do this is through mentoring internationally. Having a mentor in your industry or organisation, in another country, will help you to think about things in new ways, develop additional skills and is likely to further improve your career development in ways that in-person mentoring simply can’t.

Understand Different Cultures

It is easy to get caught up thinking that every country in this ever-smaller global world conducts itself in the same way as our own country. The truth is that there are nearly always nuances and changes in the way business is conducted. Whether in how direct or indirect people are in the office, how seemingly efficient employees are and cultural differences in manners, it is important to recognise these differences do exist. Having a mentor based in another country can help you to learn more about how different countries and their offices function. You may discover little differences that can help you to navigate through tricky negotiations or even to close deals more effectively in future conversations. If you do have a mentor internationally, don’t be afraid to ask them about cultural differences in offices. Be mindful that there is no right or wrong, only different.

Unlock Potential Opportunities

Having a mentor overseas may well give you more than just mentoring. In conducting regular mentoring meetings over Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Google Hangouts, you may come to discover that there are additional opportunities for you internationally. A mentor or mentee in another country will be talking to you about their career and sharing their experiences, and within these conversations there is a good chance that you could end up unlocking opportunities to further your own career. It could be that there is a market gap internationally that you didn’t know existed, or that marketing your services internationally has a far greater profit margin than your current market. Or, perhaps, there is an overseas position going in a country with a better climate, favourable tax incentives or more exciting client portfolios. The fact is, without a mentoring relationship across countries, you are more likely to miss out on opportunities.

More Mentoring to Offer

Whilst mentoring in the same country, town or city has a great many benefits, an international mentor is going to have a different perspective, more opportunities and ultimately more to offer you, in many respects. And who ever said that mentoring needed to be limited to one relationship at a time? If you already have a mentor or mentee in your own office and country, why not consider finding a second international mentor or mentee? You never know what opportunities could come out of it and, you may end up expanding your potential and career development, all whilst helping others internationally.

If you are looking to get involved with mentoring internationally and are part of a larger organisation, we would recommend speaking with your HR or learning department and asking them to help to facilitate an international mentoring relationship. If your organisation doesn’t run a mentoring programme or you are a freelancer looking at getting involved in mentoring, you can join PushFar’s free global mentoring platform now.
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