Learning from the Best: The Role of Mentorship in Administrative Success

April 29, 2024


Administrative Mentorship

Mentorship from an experienced colleague can make a huge difference in administrative assistants’ career trajectories. Through personalized advice and an understanding of your strengths, weaknesses, and aspirations, a mentor can expertly guide you through complex work situations, recommend professional skill advancements, and open the door for more career opportunities.  

A great mentor finds the balance between friend and coach, helping admins with professional growth, skill development, networking, and support. Let’s delve into how you can find a mentor, build a professional connection, and reap the benefits of participating in a mentee-mentor relationship. Then, we’ll explore how to extend that support to other admins. 

Finding a Mentorship Program

Many companies have an established program that pairs senior partners with newer employees for career mentorship. However, if your company doesn’t have a formal arrangement, you can find a mentor by asking a respected colleague, someone from your professional network, or a more senior administrative assistant to meet with you.

When it comes to choosing a mentor, consider your long-term professional goals. You’ll get the most out of your experience if you build a relationship with a mentor whose career and skills are similar to what you want to achieve or emulate. For example, if your dream is to lead a team, look for a person who runs a department and has a great rapport with their reports.

If someone doesn’t immediately come to mind, consider joining an Employee Resource Group to meet colleagues or researching and attending local networking groups to connect with potential mentors.  

Build a Relationship With Your Mentor

Regularly meeting with your mentor will ensure you have the chance to get to know them and build a meaningful professional relationship. Depending on your mentor’s availability, aim to meet once a month for lunch, coffee, a walk, a conference, or happy hour. 

It’s a good idea to prepare a few questions or talking points before each meeting so you can have productive conversations and get the most out of the mentorship. 

Here are a few conversation starters:

  • How did you get into this career?

  • What’s a difficult skill you’ve had to learn to be successful?

  • How did you learn that skill?

  • What advice would you give your younger professional self?

  • What career goals are you currently working toward?

  • Do you have any book, podcast, conference, or professional magazine recommendations?

  • What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

  • Are there any causes or missions you’re passionate about?

As you and your mentor get to know one another, you’ll feel more comfortable asking for specific career guidance and getting advice on work situations. 

Five Benefits of Mentorship

While trial and error are an essential part of learning in any job, having the support of someone who gets exactly what you’re going through and can offer tips and support is a big perk of mentorship. Plus, it’s priceless to be able to learn from someone who has been in your position before. 

Consider these five mentorship benefits:

1. Skill Development

Time management, communication, and problem-solving skills are crucial for administrative roles. However, putting these skills into practice is easier said than done. Having a mentor share their learned strategies for prioritizing tasks can help you master these skills faster, improve your efficiency, and spare you from making too many unnecessary mistakes.

2. Career Advancement

Because mentors are often seasoned professionals at your company, they can also provide valuable insight into how promotions and advancements are considered. If your goal is to get a promotion, a mentor can help hold you accountable for taking the necessary steps to be considered. They can also work with you to develop a strategy to improve certain skills and offer constructive feedback along the way. Plus, your mentor can become an advocate for you within your organization. 

3. Expanded Network

Whether your admin mentor is part of your company or not, connecting with a mentor is a great way to increase your network. They’ll be able to introduce you to industry leaders, potential collaborators, and contacts with similar aspirations and interests. You’ll have more opportunities to connect with professionals and learn from a variety of resources. 

4. Confidence Boost 

Chances are that your mentor had similar fears and insecurities when they were in your position. And the good news is, they found a way to conquer those career-related doubts and moved up in their profession! A mentor’s firsthand experience, guidance, and encouragement can give you the job confidence to take advantage of opportunities and succeed.

5. Work-Life Balance 

Administrative assistants who find a work-life balance are happier, more productive employees and humans. But it can be difficult to achieve that balance, which is where a mentor’s support comes in. A mentor can offer insight into how they managed their workload and stress when they were in your position, and how they handle it in their current position. They truly understand the intricacies, stress, and expectations of your job and can offer useful advice. 

Paying it Forward With Mentorship

A mentee-mentorship relationship isn’t only beneficial to the mentee. Mentors have the opportunity to share their knowledge and expertise with the next generation of administrative assistants, which gives them the chance to enhance their own leadership and communication skills while boosting their mentee’s career progression.

If you’ve benefited from a mentorship, consider paying it forward and becoming a mentor to a budding admin. There’s no better feeling than seeing the ripple effects of a supportive culture that helps admins grow and succeed in their careers!

Watch our FREE Webinar on Mentoring 101

Click Here!

Join the Conversation

Welcome to the ASAP Circle, a community platform for peer-to-peer conversation on trending topics, professional challenges, and shared experiences. We even have designated spaces for weekly Tuesday Coffee Breaks.

Start Connecting Today!

American Society of Administrative Professionals

Producer of

APC  EA Ignite