Whatever stage you are in in your career, a mentor can help you along the way to achieve your goals and motivate you towards the success you are after. A mentor is someone with specialised knowledge, often coming from your line of work, who you can open up to about your career. They don’t receive money for their services, however will receive their own rewards from the process, and as older employees can guide you through your career journey, having been there, done that, and made their own mistakes.
A mentorship is an agreement, with you both knowing how much input you’d like. Normally it involves coffees and phone calls, which may be sporadic, although you may decide on specific dates and places to meet.
How can a mentor help you in your career:
Sometimes it’s difficult to know who to turn to, especially with proprietary information or intellectual property.
Choosing someone that’s an objective third-party or has no stake in your venture (beyond your career goals and wellbeing) can help you have a confidential sounding board to bounce ideas off and gain valuable insight.
As a new comer to the industry, you might have little understanding about other aspects of an organisation or job roles, or what the industry looks like as a whole. You can tap into this knowledge that a mentor, with years of experience, will have, and use it to reach your own career goals quicker.
Sometimes you know what you want to achieve in the long run, but have no idea how to get there. Mentors can help you break down your dreams into manageable, achievable goals. Working towards them, they can also hold you accountable so you complete them in a timely manner, learn from them and get excited by your next steps.
Sometimes it’s very difficult to step back from ourselves and really understand who were are and what we want from our working lives. Mentors offer us the chance to gain that perspective. They might get to know more about who we truly are than we do ourselves and can motivate us to follow in a positive path.
As human beings, mentors have made a ton of mistakes. What’s good for you is that they’ve had these experiences so you don’t have to. They can tell you about their past challenges, and lessons learnt and you’ll gain in saved time and money.
Unlike yourself, mentors can actually tell you when you should be saying no. They understand what you want to achieve, and what actions you need to take to help you get there as quickly as possible.
They can also define expectations for you so that you can set priorities, and move forward in your career in a timely manner.
Getting to you know the real you, what makes you tick, and your skills and abilities in the workplace, mentors can challenge you to go outside your comfort zone and work towards goals you never thought were achievable.
They can also give you detailed feedback on how you did after tasks, teach you along the way, and push you to go even further.
Because mentors are neutral outsiders, they can give their honest and unbiased opinions when you’ve a career issue, taking into account your personality and circumstances.