What would have happened if Steve Jobs didn’t go on walks with Mark Zuckerberg in Palo Alto? Or if Peter Parker didn’t gravitate towards Tony Stark for guidance? Mark and Peter would probably have a different story to tell today.
Both of the latter are heroes in their own success stories, even though one of them is a fictional character. The power of mentorship is evident in the above statement. Steve Jobs and Tony Stark were their mentors. It’s safe to say that they had a great deal of influence on their mentees’ career choice and life path.
Now, let’s not confuse a mentor with the role of a coach. A mentor guides its mentee to evolve to its full potential. A mentor will never tell you what to do but will give you the appropriate guidance on the ‘how’. There is no clear-cut structure or system to mentor effectively. A mentor has your best interest at heart, thinking of the long-term scenario.
On the other hand, a coach has a targeted result: the specific enhancement of its student’s hard skills needed to win or complete an event. A coach’s role is more on a short-term capacity.
Read on to see how having a mentor is beneficial for you.
They have tested & proven experience
Business models and industry structures are continually evolving and complicated to boot. It can be challenging catching up on industry trends on top of the day-to-day responsibilities. Having a mentor allows you to have an exclusive, front-row seat of what to expect from the industry or position and what you can do to thrive. Mistakes and errors are unavoidable, but having a mentor gives you an edge to tread carefully and minimize basic faux pas.
Builds up your confidence and professional esteem
Every candidate or employee is skillful and qualified in their own respective merits. Mentors verbally acknowledge these skills and talents, praising your accomplishments and giving you credit where it’s due. Employers or supervisors rarely do this, as for them, your achievements are merely the outcome of what you’re hired to do.
Mentors don’t look at it that way. Mentors understand the importance of nurturing your skills and talents. Building your confidence is crucial to have a bullish attitude in paving your way towards a successful career.
Their objective perspective is unparalleled
Another benefit of a mentor is having a living, breathing feedback loop where you can bounce off ideas from them, and they will guide you through the best course of action possible.
It’s one thing having someone who understands and encourages you; it’s another thing to have someone who tells you how it is without sugarcoating. Mentors have an unbiased perspective and are generally objective when assessing situations where there’s a tendency to be reactive.
Mentors are outstanding in shaking you up from your comfort zone. A mentor would never want you to stay within your comfort zone, especially if you have been stagnant, and it’s time for you to chase after many fulfilling opportunities.
Helps unearth talents and potential you never knew you had
You know that saying, “Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime.” That saying rings true in mentorship. Good mentors don’t tell you what to do; they challenge your way of thinking. They listen and ask you a lot of questions to guide you towards your own answer.
A mentor’s role is to point you in the right direction and help you evolve to your full potential but never keep you from any opportunity for hands-on experience. Suppose you ask your mentor for a solution to a problem. In that case, they will answer you with a scenario-based question, eventually, with you figuring it out for yourself and guiding you on how to reach the best solution. During the process, you might be surprised by the strengths or aptitude that gets uncovered along the way.
Expand your network and introduce career opportunities
Most mentors have fully established their professionals’ careers with years of experience in the industry. This means that they have accumulated many connections and have built a rapport with their network.
Mentors are in the position to introduce you to their network so you can expand yours. When the time is right, these networks can lead you to other career opportunities
Where can you find a mentor?
“Your mentors in life are important, so choose them wisely.” -Robert Kiyosaki, founder of The Rich Dad Company.
Do you have someone who you already look up to and admire? Do your goals and values align with theirs?
Take a look around – either within your immediate environment or online. You may find a mentor within your professional network or industry, professionals on LinkedIn, or seek out professional mentorship programs.
For a mentorship to be enjoyable and successful, there must be a mentee’s level of aspiration to the mentor. A mentor’s role is to provide its mentee with practical guidance to shape the mentee towards a better ‘you’ – both professionally and personally.
Remember, a mentor is not responsible for your success. You are. Before reaching out for a mentor, you need to be clear of your goals. This gives your mentor an understanding of what you want to accomplish and enables them to have a clear strategy and plan to help you achieve it.
Mentors and mentees need to complement each other. Mutual respect, interest, and commitment to the goal must be present to have a healthy and beneficial mentorship. Having a mentor will not always be a comfortable set-up – you will be challenged to grow beyond your comfort zone and put in situations you may think you can’t handle. When this is the case, trust your mentor.
Even experienced professionals have mentors! Fresh graduates, newbie professionals, and the up-and-comers should have one, too.
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