Mentorship is a powerful gift and blessing to anyone who wishes to succeed in life and business. And I would recommend it to avid readers of this article. Nothing can fast-track your pace in career and self-development compared to having a teacher and guide who has walked a similar path, to show you the way.
And this rule applies to every facet of our lives, name it – trade, profession, family, religion, spirituality, academics, finances, politics. At whatever stage in career or life that you and I have attained (whether experienced or fresher), mentorship can simplify the complex.
You might even want to switch to another career path, or take some major life-changing decision. But you need some validation or help to think clearly and be sure you are doing the right thing. Mentors give such needed guidance and embolden us to succeed.
For Clarity: Who is a Mentor?
I came across one of the most specific definitions of the term ‘mentorship’ in the Emeritus website article “What is a Mentor? How Can Mentors Boost Your Career Growth?” And It reads:
“A mentor is an experienced professional who provides informal guidance to beginners as well as experienced professionals for career growth. Being in a mutually beneficial professional relationship, the mentor has the mentee’s best interests at heart and adopts a flexible mentorship style to meet the latter’s needs.”
(Chatterjee, D. 2022)
I have not truly met a self-made person who is a reference point for success today, that had no mentor. Surprisingly, some of our mentors are people who do not appear cut out for the role. Yet a divine, invisible hand will often position such persons in your path, if you can recognize and use that opportunity. It could be a school teacher, lecturer, parent, relative, boss, trainer, religious leader or spiritual adept. Or a learned person, a resourceful agent of change you met in a place or at an event.
In some extraordinary cases, a mentor comes into our lives by a seemingly random event. That mentor will usually change the course of our lives forever in a positive way. Perhaps you might have given up without this agent of rescue appearing just at the right time.
It is also a good mentality to actively seek out a mentor that can positively impact your life and career. Ask for his or her permission to be a willing student. You will usually recognize one from his/her own achievements, and the results the person consistently produces in his/her own pursuits.
However, you benefit more from mentorship when you are willing to learn, willing to see beyond your own understanding. Mentors turn out to be focused, rugged products of both learning and experience. You must be patient and humble enough to be straightened, strengthened, criticized and shown examples you can replicate.
What are the Benefits of Mentorship to Your Career?
The benefits of mentorship cannot be quantified in terms of money. Because the life-changing effect of mentorship is like a sacrifice of love in an adopted parent-to-child relationship. The experience stays with the mentee forever, unshakeable. Some of the benefits of mentorship are as follows.
You Learn from Actual Real-life Experiences of Your Mentor
You gain knowledge and deeper insight from the direct experiences narrated by your mentor. And you can learn from their stories of loss and gain, failure and triumph during challenging times. Your mentor literally teaches you HOW he/she overcame a challenge, and even alternative routes/methods to the same goal. He or she also helps you to identify and pursue the needed skills for your career success.
You Develop a Wider Perspective on Opportunities and Knowledge
A mentor takes you higher to see issues from his own broader perspective, which you may not see clearly at your level. You learn to see and understand things from his wealth of knowledge and experience gathered not only by himself, but from other learned colleagues as well.
The mentee ultimately learns to apply the ‘broader perspective’ to solving problems and making well-informed choices that will not be selfish or self-defeating.
Opportunity for Broader Professional Networking /Connections
Your mentor will introduce you to his/her network of valuable people along the way. He or she may refer you to any one of them that can provide the needed help when he/she cannot help you directly. That will often help you to build your own connections – which naturally begins with such contacts. As your network expands, they pave the way for a future of benefits which may include getting job referrals or other valuable assistance from them.
Increased Confidence and Drive
Your mentor can energize and charge you up to pursue a goal. That includes advancing your career, and your willingness to have greater achievements in your workplace.
Encouragement to Identify, Set and Achieve Career Goals
Your mentor could very well offer to be the origin or testing ground for creative ideas. He or she can help you to focus and clarify your ideas, give useful suggestions, and point out the best alternatives to achieving a goal. Thus, you reduce the chances of getting stuck, suffering losses, or getting lost from poor decisions.
Improved Communication Skills
A mentor would not be the great teacher he/she ends up becoming without showing practical examples. As such, your mentor becomes your role model. You learn to perfect your skills by watching them perform and act out the same. One of those skills is the art of effective communication. You also learn by following their instructions and receiving feedback from them to improve yourself.
Helps in Personal and Career Advancement
Mentors can help you to stay focused on your business and/or career and personal development. He or she would encourage you to gather more relevant knowledge, skills, resources and the right helpers or connections as you climb up the ladder of success. And to use your resources correctly and wisely.
Can Develop Leadership and Coaching Abilities in Mentees
Mentors can help their mentees to develop higher ethical values and a good, strong character. A good mentor will listen patiently, suggest solutions, and help their mentees to think deeply and make worthy choices. These lessons will strengthen the mentee to handle tough decisions in the future, and stand in the place of leadership without falling.
Finally, mentors help to identify and correct significant flaws in a mentee’s thinking, actions and choices.
This will stop the flaws from working against him or her in times to come.
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