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How Convenience-Store Leaders Can Get the Most Out of Mentoring

Leading NOW shares strategies at Convenience-Store Women (CSW) event
Leading NOW President Julia Lazzara
Photograph by Jonathan Mouer

Conventional advice women receive about their careers does not include The Missing 33% (TM), or the importance of knowing and demonstrating business, strategic and financial acumen, Leading NOW President Julia Lazzara said at CSP’s Convenience-Store Women (CSW) event in November. So how does that relate to mentoring?

Optimal mentoring is one that is focused on the protégé’s leadership development needs, is a confidential relationship and is a mutually beneficial learning situation, Lazzara said. Most women receive mentoring that boosts their confidence, helps them identify their aptitudes and connects them to resources. Leading NOW refers to this type of supportive mentoring as CAKE mentoring, which involves Confidence; Aptitude, Attitude and Advice; Konnections; and Encouragement.

“We all need supportive mentoring, no question. … But, as we learned in The Missing 33% (TM), traditional, conventional advice or mentoring is not getting us where we want to go in our careers,” Lazzara said. “To become a better business leader, to begin to demonstrate business, strategic and financial acumen, we need something different.”

The flip side to this is strategic mentoring rather than supportive, also known as PIE Strategic Mentoring (TM). And it gives the mentee exposure to these three pieces, according to Leading NOW:

Performance of a business: How the business operates and the stories that the financial results tell.

Image of a leader: How to cultivate one’s leadership presence. This includes how one positions their ideas, how they communicate and how they reveal their decision-making process.

Exposure: Strategic mentoring involves learning how work is done and how decisions are made at higher levels. This includes meeting people at higher levels of one’s organization and outside of that organization.

“PIE Strategic Mentoring (TM) is the difference maker in careers,” she said. “This is the shift to a more strategic form of mentoring.”

For those looking to find a mentor, Lazzara recommends they:

  • First, identify their development goals and then identify someone who is knowledgeable in the area they want to develop.
  • Make a specific ask for assistance in one development area.
  • Set a meeting plan.

The descriptions of the educational programming from CSP's Convenience Store Women (CSW) Conference contained in this article represent the copyrighted intellectual property and trademarks of Leading NOW, LLC, used with permission. 

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