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September Chief's Perspective

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Carl Christie
  • 169th Logistics Readiness Squadron

Mentorship is Key to Success

Mentorship is a type of professional relationship in which a person with greater experience and wisdom guides another person to develop both personally and professionally. This relationship helps achieve mission success and motivates Airmen to achieve their goals. The overall goal of mentoring is to help Airmen (civilian, enlisted, and officer) maximize their full potential. Mentors should focus on mentee development with a goal of giving the mentee the ability to manage their own development and learning. Mentoring is not a promotion enhancement program. It is a professional development program designed to help each individual reach their maximum potential both professionally and personally.

Mentoring covers a wide range of areas, such as professional and functional development, career planning, educational opportunities, leadership, Air Force history and heritage, as well as air, space and cyberspace capabilities. Mentoring also includes understanding our Air Force Core Values of Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence In All We Do and a knowledge of Air Force professional capabilities and war fighting skills that are enhanced by diversity among our personnel.

The Air Force fosters a mentoring culture by encouraging and expecting Airmen to be mentors and mentees. This culture enhances morale and discipline and improves the operational environment while maintaining respect for authority. Mentoring is an inherent responsibility of leadership. The key to the mentoring process is the direct involvement of commanders, directors and supervisors in the professional development of their people. They should continually challenge their Airmen to achieve their individual and/or professional goals. Mentoring promotes professional development at every echelon and activity. Mentoring is an ongoing process for building a professional relationship that fosters communication concerning careers, competencies, behavior and organizational missions. Mentors and mentees should be aware of the Air Force definition of diversity, inclusion and the benefits of a diverse and inclusive approach to leadership and mentorship. Airmen have the option of selecting or being paired with mentors by using MyVECTOR on the Air Force portal. Why not give it a try?

Professional mentoring helps prepare Airmen for increased responsibilities and is not designed to ensure the mentee is selected for a promotion. Some specific benefits are improved morale and unit cohesion, enhanced professional and individual development, increased mastery of the institutional and occupational competencies, enhanced capacity to translate core values and strategies into productive actions and greater engagement and retention of Airmen with the right competencies needed in support of Air Force requirements.

Set goals within your organization. Create a positive environment promoting professional and individual growth through the Air Force Continuum of Learning (CoL) to enhance institutional and occupational competencies. Expand familiarization with the organization’s mission through increased understanding of history, heritage, leadership expectations and the political environment. Provide a catalyst for leaders and subordinates to leverage tactical, operational and strategic knowledge. Establish lines of communication to enable timely information sharing and assistance when needed. 

Mentors should exemplify Air Force Core Values, support mentees’ career planning and goal setting to capture career planning requirements, and advise mentees to cultivate their leadership and functional capabilities by completing online institutional and occupational competency assessments. Share relevant knowledge, experience and resources with mentees. Identify and help mentees resolve potential issues they face in development. Facilitate opportunities for mentees to gain new experiences and build skills.

I encourage everyone to be a mentor and share your knowledge. Help personnel uncover those talents they may not know they have and lead our Airmen to success.