The digital world in which we live transcends time and space so we can access people networks across the globe. Mentoring moments occur informally at astonishing rates as we give, share and reciprocate in an instant via online platforms and communities. People want and expect to use technology to make their lives easier. No surprise then to see the rise of the virtual or eMentor. I caught up with Netherlands-based Maurice Sikking, the founder of not-for-profit platform Mentspot, who shares his dream of connecting mentors and mentees anywhere in the world.
How did you come up with the idea?
At MentSpot we believe that everyone deserves constructive career advice. That’s why we launched a platform that lets people connect with their ideal mentor from anywhere in the world. It’s absolutely free!
Everyone struggles with life’s challenges, whether that is in business, during studies, or in private. But instead of searching for hours online to find a mentor, MentSpot offers anyone the ability to connect with their perfect mentor in just a few clicks.
We just launched, but our member base is growing rapidly. We can already see how MentSpot is helping people get in touch with the help they need.
Why is having a career mentor so important?
For many people, especially the young, it is difficult to define which direction they should go in terms of their career. A mentor is able to see the potential in them, advise what they can do with specific talents, and how to approach their dream job.
What are some unique features of your website?
What’s unique is a Goal List, a template which ensures a clear process towards the goal, as well as on-site calling to improve the communication. We created an audio chat so that the users have an option to keep using the platform, instead of using external tools to communicate. This way, we can measure engagement and they have everything in one place.
How does an eMentor differ from a real-life mentor?
For sure, it is easier to find an eMentor. Often, it is very important for people with introvert personalities to communicate via virtual tools, rather than face-to-face. Finally, using MentSpot is absolutely free at the moment.
Which industries are represented among your mentors?
For now, we divide the areas of mentoring into 5 categories:
- Life & Personal Development
- Business & Entrepreneurship
- Career & Study
- Health & Sports
- Creative & Arts
Mostly, we have eMentors in US and English-speaking countries. English is also an official language on the platform. In the future, we might enter some of the European markets and release the specific language versions.
Can you offer some tips for successfully working with an eMentor?
I’d say that most important is to find the right person, who is representing the same values as you and you “click” together. Later, the keys are consistency and staying systematic in terms of the tasks set by your eMentor. In the end, it is up to you if you make progress since a mentor’s job is to give you advice and direction, but you are the one to make changes and decisions.
So, there you have it, one example of how the centuries-old approach of mentoring is adapting to today’s digital world. I’ve signed up as a volunteer eMentor (here’s my profile). You may also be interested in The International Mentor Network, set up recently by The Mentoring School. It’s a network for mentors by mentors, to provide CPD, learning, news, resources and a community.