When You Really Need A Mentor

Linda Dela Cruz
Wednesday - October 11, 2006
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Christine Ing with staffers Henry Roman and Amy Matsushima
Christine Ing with staffers Henry Roman and Amy

At work you want a plum assignment, or a promotion, but you aren’t sure what exactly you should do to get there. You’ve tried what you think would work - making small talk with co-work-ers/bosses, showing initiative, being punctual, dressing professionally, improving your skills, paying for lunch, going for drinks after work with the powers that be, playing on the company softball team, and volunteering on company projects. You still have no results and you want a breakthrough. What do you do?

One option is to seek the advice of someone who has more experience than you. This is why Christine Ing launched www.ingagementors.com in April. Her company, Ingage Inc., assists business people in finding coaches for their professional and personal life. Career-minded individuals may look online at her web-based company and choose a mentor by reading the mentor profile.

“My goal is to foster the younger generation,” Ing adds. “And to extend the quality of life for baby boomers and those in their senior years.”

After a mentee chooses a mentor, they can purchase mentoring packages online for one month, three months, six months, and 12 months. Once registered the customer has access to a discussion board, calendars, action planning forms, and a library of articles.

“This is such a new concept, there is a learning curve in this service,” explains Ing. “It’s not like serving burgers. There’s a need to educate people on how it works.”

Ing has recruited retired business executives and consultants who want to share their knowledge. Her company offers four services. The first is one-on-one mentoring, which can be done face to face, over the phone or through e-mail. The second is group mentoring for employees. She says all mentors focus on career development and cover skills that any individual will need such as communication.

She notes that one of the mentors, Ron Peltier, a media executive in television, is like the other mentors in that he is passionate about giving back, and he has had many mentors himself.

The third service is providing motivational speakers for groups or conventions on topics such as strategic planning. The fourth service helps organizations to coordinate an in-house mentoring program for any reason including succession planning. With about 25 to 30 mentors from Hawaii and the Mainland, Ing says her first step is to help the younger local generation, although the web-based nature of the business has a further reach.

Ing says many successful people have talked about the importance of mentorship.

“I never had a mentor,” she noted. “I would feel bad asking people for their time. So I figured if there was a service where individuals are available who want to give their time and service, it wouldn’t be so bad to ask them. These (mentors) are people you can really call when you need someone to talk to figuring out a problem. So having a mentor can add so much value to an individual.”

Ing, a Punahou grad, handles business operations. She has two employees who focus on marketing and human resources, respectively.

Speaking of human resources, Ing notes that people stay with companies if they have a good relationship with management, and if they get special training and development opportunities. She adds that mentoring in addition to training seminars is very productive.

“There are some studies conducted that say people with mentors earned higher incomes than those without a mentor, and they got promotions at an earlier age,” explains Ing.

For more information, log onto www.ingagementors.com

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