Having a career mentor is an excellent idea, as they will be able to use their experience and knowledge to help you with your career progression. In the past, I have used my career mentor to run ideas past before presenting to senior management or recover from disappointments.
The idea behind this is that I don’t want senior management to turn down my idea based on factors that I had not thought of. Today I mentor a range of candidates on a variety of different subjects, but the end goal is the same, career advancement.
Types of Career Mentors
Typically, there are different types of career mentors, however, if you’ve found a good career mentor, they’ll likely have two essential qualities.
- Fantastic skills, knowledge, and experience in your chosen profession.
- Time to offer you quality advice at all times.
Deciding on whether you need a career mentor is very easy but finding the right career mentor for you can be difficult. Just because your career mentor is a major S&P 500 CEO, doesn’t mean they’re going to be able to help you.
Finding a Career Mentor
Your mentor will help you grow in your chosen profession, however, you must remember that your mentor does not have to be someone working in the same company, or even the same industry. It’s only necessary that they understand your career and personal growth goals.
Before you start your search for a perfect adviser or mentor, career specialists believe you should have an honest think about yourself and try to identify your weak points where you need help and your personal goals for the future. There is no point in lying to yourself by assuming that you have no weaknesses.
Everyone has faults, but it takes you being honest with yourself to work out your flaws. Your next job is to work out the skills and required knowledge and any problem areas.
The moment you pinpoint your weak points, look for people who are skilled in the areas where you are vulnerable to help you improve. You must be specific about what you’re asking a mentor to help you with rather than just asking the question, “I want to rise to the top of this firm, can you be my mentor?”
The Perfect Mentor
Getting the perfect mentor is often very difficult. The C-level executives will be the preferable mentors, but it may not be easy getting one to mentor you, so you should focus on people who have the skills and knowledge that you require and shows exceptional commitment to his or her duty.
You should also consider the company’s culture when choosing a mentor. If the company’s culture is rigid, you may consider going a step above you to choose a mentor. However, if it is a relaxed structure, you may go to the very top to make your choice. Always choose someone who commands the admiration and respect of other workers in the company. The worst decision you can make when selecting your mentor is to choose someone who is not respected by the company.
Asking Someone to Be Your Mentor
The moment you have made up your mind, on the people or individual you want as a mentor, you must come up with reasons why you preferred these people or person as your mentor. A good example is your admiration of how the person carries himself or herself at company meetings, and then you should ask your new mentor for relevant tips on giving an effective presentation. If you desire to fine-tune your customer service skills, then compliment your mentor on the admirable way he or she handles unsatisfied and angry customers.
When asking someone to be your mentor, you need to mention the reason that you’re hoping this person will mentor you in a specific area. It’s straightforward for them to say because there’s something you admire about them, however, to make sure that you get something out of it that is beneficial for your career you need to provide the specifics rather than the general advice that they will give you.
It will be hard for you to find one single mentor who can provide you with all the advice you need on different areas of your personal development. This is the reason why most career experts believe you should get yourself two or more mentors. The best way to get balanced advice and guidance on different topics is to get a handful of mentors with different specializations. Mentors like the idea of having other mentors relieve them of some responsibilities of guiding you as well.
Always set your expectations ahead of time on how you want the mentorship to go. You should decide whether you will be formally communicating with your mentors through weekly meetings or informal communications like sending emails or calling whenever any advice is needed.
To most people, mentorship is all about old people teaching and guiding young people, in recent times, the reverse has become the case where young workers can have as much relevant information as older workers especially in areas of technology.