Why You Need a Mentor and How to Find One
Updated: Dec 13, 2022
Personal and professional development are important at every step in life and your career. People who lack professional experience often feel frustrated when trying to find their way in their careers.
Mentoring is a way to improve your professional skills by gaining valuable information from someone who is knowledgeable in many areas.
We will tell you where to start looking for a mentor and how to build a successful friendship.
Who is a mentor?
A mentor is someone who guides and advises. Guiding and advising, however, does not mean that the mentor becomes a specialist in interpersonal relationships or replaces your therapist! And the mentee is not someone who merely learns and absorbs the mentor's knowledge.
Above all, mentors who deal with young people are both teachers and learners.
Choosing a mentor, usually someone with more expertise, can help you understand the best approaches.
People who have received such support and guidance from a mentor, are able to pursue better employment opportunities, explore strategies to reach out their goals, and discipline themselves to be determined to succeed in life and business.
Paramita Battacharya, CMO at Blurb, reports at Forbes that employees' confidence has grown and their goals have become clearer since taking advantage of mentoring. Her company has been able to successfully leverage employees' strengths with mentorship programs. She reported that their company's employee satisfaction has topped, they were engaged longer at their jobs and contributed more to the company's productivity.
Mentoring gives different perspective to many young people who might not otherwise be able to walk the path on their own.
Therefore, team members with different perspectives leading an organization, or project is enormously beneficial to the company. Because it brings innovative solutions and perspectives that translate into productivity and positive impact.
Further Reading: 5 Secrets of Joyful Experience at Work While Advancing Your Career
Mentoring has several benefits that are not limited to mentees. People place a high value on honing their mentoring and leadership skills and applying the new knowledge to their work context.
These thoughts come from conversations with their many mentees about accountability, decision making, leadership and unconventional approaches, etc.
So not only do mentors benefit from honing their mentoring skills, but they also learn a lot from their mentees.
According to Forbes, business people who mentored others, are three times more likely to become high performers themselves in their career. Getting mentees and helping them in their careers is already a fantastic phenomenon within its context. It also helped mentors themselves to stay on track in many ways.
An effective mentor is dedicated and enthusiastic, thinks about the development of others, and is willing to give their time, share their knowledge and help you introduce their network that may help you to get connections for better opportunities for your career.
Mentors and mentees are most successful when they complement each other in terms of background, key skills, and experience, and when they are working with or facing similar problems. So there was a lot to talk about, discuss, and consider.
How to find a mentor?
A competent mentor builds trust, maintains discretion, and preserves confidentiality. As a mentee, you must feel safe and be willing to have an open and honest dialog with your mentor.
Here are a few tips before you begin your search for a mentor.
1. Recognize the difference between a mentor and a facilitator
A mentor can be your motivator and advisor, encouraging you to qualify for new positions and helping you navigate difficult situations, such as moving to a new position or starting a difficult job.
While it is conceivable to be mentored by a peer, mentors are usually at least one or two levels above you.
2. Determine your goals before you meet with mentor
Identify your goals and set clear benchmarks for how a mentor can support you.
If you are not sure, provide at least broad outlines and a guiding principle.
Agree on how often where and when you will be meeting. Although, mentors usually will not hesitate to advise you and share their experiences, it is beneficial to prepare a few questions around your goals.
Further Reading: Five Challenges You must Overcome to Become (Super) Successful in Your Career
3. A mentor from your social circle
Sometimes it is a good idea to start with your own social circle. You may already have people who can help us in many ways.
You just need to turn that connection into a long-term friendship.
It's also important to remember that a mentor does not have to be older or more experienced. A mentorship among peers can be just as effective.
4. Select mentors who are ideal for you
Look for a potential mentor in your area, such as colleagues, family members, or your college's alumni association, after determining what skills you need assistance with or what issues you are facing in your career.
Do not be shocked if you find that one person can not help you in every way to understand your job and advance your career. This is OK. It is important to remember that you can have multiple mentors at the same time.
Choosing a positive person who is sincere with you, on the other hand, should be a priority.
5. Be sure to find mentors with different worldviews and opinions.
This may be someone who comes from a different department or has a different history and perspective on the job than you do.
A mentor with different perspectives may help you go out of your comfort zone, question your misperceptions about your job and shed light on your future career growth plans.
6. Getting a mentor aligned with your professional growth plan
Whether you are looking for a mentor inside or outside your company, look for multidisciplinary teams and roles.
Who do you want to be like?
What job do you want to be in the future, five, ten, or fifteen years from now?
Are there any role models in your workplace?
Even if you are looking for similar skills and knowledge, expertise and tasks, a diverse functional and business perspective can be beneficial.
Do your homework.
Make sure it fits your needs.
7. Build relationship before asking a mentorship
If you are not a member of a mentoring group and are looking for a mentor yourself, start with getting to know them.
Have a conversation with them or connect with them on social media (LinkedIn is great to review people's career and work experience).
Acknowledge their perspective. Basically, build a professional relationship before proposing to become your mentor.
Further Reading: Why You Need a Five Year Career Plan and How to Create One
8. Make arrangements for meetings
Take care of the arrangements for your mentor, whether it's finding a place to meet or arranging a Zoom session so she/he can come to you and give you her/his advice.
You may email your mentor your goals or questions a day before the meeting so they can figure out how to help you effectively.
Make it easy for your mentor so that it does not become a feat and a burden for them.
9. Do your homework
If your mentor advises you to try a new activity or read a book, show him that you are paying attention by letting him know, either by letter or at the next meeting, what happened after you implemented his suggestion.
You should develop ways to let your mentor know what you learned in your sessions.
10. Show gratitude, thank your mentor.
Be considerate of your mentor's personal affairs, work, and commitments by not taking up too much of his or her attention.
However, do not stop there. Look for small opportunities to express gratitude and compassion.
This could be a written note or an offer to make a professional connection that will benefit their work.
Maybe one of your clients could help your mentor, or your program director is looking for a higher level employee and your mentor seems like a good fit.
The goal is to do something to show gratitude.
Benefits of mentoring for the organization
When companies and organizations support the development of leaders at all levels, they have a much greater chance of advancing and achieving outstanding business results.
Mentoring is a great technique for enhancing employee skills while promoting diversity within the organization and supporting the intended impact of the company's philosophy on employee growth.
Further reading: What is Imposter Syndrome, and How to Overcome it?
Great mentors adjust their advice
We humans all bring our personal biases and ways of thinking to relationships.
Competent mentors can recognize their own and understand how they differ from those of their mentees.
For example, not all young people like to discuss their future plans with an adult they do not know. Or, not every young adult wants to attend a college far from home or take out student loans to finance their education. Even if the mentees' goals and aspirations differ from their own, influential mentors recognize what is important and advise them accordingly.
Mentoring is insightful and rewarding on an interpersonal level.
Working as a mentor and as a mentee is a transformative and rewarding learning and growth experience for many.
Make time for it and stick with it.
It is invaluable to have a mentor as role models who walked a similar path as you and is genuinely committed to your progress.
The mentor must also be willing to listen and speak honestly about their own experiences so that you can fully benefit from them.
The right mentor can inspire you and give you advice whenever you need it, regardless of what you are currently doing in your life and job.
You can also consider become a mentor for others to help them achieve in their careers and introduce them to situations they might otherwise overlook.
5 Books we recommend for further reading for mentoring
Balancing Act: Teach Coach Mentor Inspire
Mentoring 101: What Every Leader Needs to Know
Mentoring Matters:A Practical Guide to Learning-focused Relationships
Critical Mentoring: A Practical Guide
Mentoring Mindset, Skills and Tools 4th Edition: Make it easy for mentors and mentees
Disclaimer: The links mentioned above are affiliate links, and I may earn a commission from them at no cost to you when you purchase from them. Regardless, I only recommend products I believe will tremendously help my readers.