Unique mentoring insights from Sal Viola

EBS MBA 2011 Alumnus, now Head of Revenue Management at Clear Channel, Sal has been on both sides of mentoring. Read on for some unique insights and best practice tips.

1. Have realistic expectationssal viola

It's important to go into a mentor relationship with an understanding that this is part of process, and that things won’t necessarily move at the pace you expected. The early sessions are great for establishing the relationship and clarifying the areas of focus. Don’t expect to land your mentee that dream job or internship. Remember you are coaching them to understand their goals and ambitions. Work alongside and signpost to the support team at RUL as necessary. 

2. Be structured, prepared and specific 

Do your homework before each meeting. Know what your mentee is looking for, and what you can offer. Bring points to discuss in order to maximize your time together. When you leave your meeting, you should both come out with things to follow-up and build on. For example, if they want to work in Financial Services encourage them to explore what life is like across a variety of those roles (Analysts in Investment Banks, Traders in Forex, Fund Accountant Managers etc) and help them be structured in how they bring that knowledge the table when you meet again. I’ve had the most “breakthroughs” with my mentee when I was extremely specific in asking questions. For example, what they specifically liked or disliked about old roles or internships.

3. Be open and honest

There’s a great relief among mentees when you are open and honest in your own career. When I was a student, my mentor was happy to share setbacks and challenges, which gave him a more human-like quality, which in turn made me more inclined to open up.

When I opened up, I gave my mentor a better chance to guide my thinking – and as a result, I got more out of it.