Why Having a Mentor (or Becoming One) Can Boost Your Career
The modern workplace isn’t easy to navigate.
You’ll find corporate hurdles around every corner, and it takes time and practice to know how to make the best out of these situations. But who says you must do it alone?
Your professional journey is yours alone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a guiding voice along the way. This is where mentorship, a relationship between a mentor and a mentee, can benefit you.
In this article, we’ll go beyond corporate buzzwords and show you sensible reasons why you should consider having a mentor in your life or becoming one yourself.
What Is a Mentor?
A mentor is a person with experience and specialized knowledge in any number of fields. Mentors guide and challenge those less experienced and help them shape their careers towards their goals in life.
A mentor is always willing to share their know-how and vision. This helps create a bond with the mentee who is ready to learn and grow professionally. Typically, a mentor doesn’t receive any payment for the wisdom and knowledge they share.
5 Reasons Why Having a Mentor Is Important to Your Career
Generally, we think mentees are young professionals looking for guidance to further their careers. But it becomes increasingly important for people to realize that being a mentee can happen at any stage of their careers. The best professionals are the ones that know that learning is a lifelong journey and embrace it fully.
If you’re still unsure if becoming a mentee is something for you, we have 5 reasons you should consider taking that step forward:
1. Real-Life Experience
You can learn so much with formal education, but real-life experience is an invaluable resource. Mentors can help you navigate your career thanks to their expertise and years of experience under their belts. They can share their insights about how they faced obstacles, how they created their own opportunities, or share their perspective about skills you should develop further.
Their experience can help you in your own professional development in many ways. Seize them.
“Mentoring helped me understand how to look at a situation from a wider perspective. When you look at something from just one side, you become limited to the decisions you can make.
I’d recommend anyone who has doubts about their professional activities to work with a mentor. These situations can be how to adapt to a new role, lacking certain skills, special projects that are demanding, choosing the direction to grow professionally, etc.
Mentoring is much more than sharing experience. It is exploring yourself.” – Kseniya Korovina, Lead QA Engineer
Career growth and networking are closely connected. The more professionally relevant contacts you have, the better your chances are of achieving your career goals. A mentor can be the perfect person to help you. They share their own network with you and connect you to people whose interests align with yours. Win-win.
3. Constructive Feedback
It’s important to have someone in your life that understands the challenges you’re facing in your job. A mentor could be just the person you need to reach out to when you’re unsure of what path to take or what choice to make.
A wise piece of advice at the right moment can make a significant difference in your life. Just remember to be open to constructive feedback, which is something we can help you with.
“My personal feeling is that mentoring is somewhat similar to a session with a shrink. Sometimes you need to know that what you’re doing is the right thing. On the other hand, it’s also very practical to reach out to a mentor when you are not comfortable with your current position, but you are also unsure about what next steps to take in your professional life.” – Anastasia Stepanova, Business Analyst
Setting career goals can seem like a daunting task for many of us. Especially at an early age, there is still so much to learn and grow that it can be difficult to even start with goal-setting.
Having a mentor can benefit you. They can help you understand where you are and where you want to be. This can turn into setting realistic goals and holding you accountable for achieving them.
5. Motivation Boost
Having a mentor by your side can help you rediscover the excitement in your job and increase your motivation to further your career.
Sometimes we can stagnate in our ways, which leads to boredom or fear of trying something new. A mentor can help you look at things from a fresh perspective and challenge you to be more engaging and driven at work.
5 Reasons Why You Should Be a Mentor
We’ve looked at the main benefits of becoming a mentee. But what about mentors? How can this experience be beneficial for them and their careers?
Take a look at these 5 key reasons why you should embrace the role of mentor in your life:
1. Leadership and Communication Skills
A good leader is always looking for ways to improve their communication and management skills. By becoming a mentor, you have the chance to work closely with someone wanting to advance their career.
It requires you to know how to encourage, give constructive feedback, and even inspire that person who looks up to you. These are all important traits that a leader must develop throughout their lives and understand how to adapt them to each individual.
“The most valuable and interesting advice I received from mentoring sessions was that, when a conflict arises between team members, one should try to understand the reasons behind it and not avoid a direct conversation. Understanding the reasons for conflict is key to a manager’s job. Creating the right culture for the team is essential for a manager to do and mentoring has helped me develop this skill.” – Andrey Zubenko, Operations Manager.
2. Learn as Much as You Teach
Mentoring relationships have clearly defined roles, but that doesn’t mean that a mentor can’t learn from a mentee. Like in all the best relationships, you can always learn something from all parties involved.
As a mentor, you need to realize that having someone with a different life perspective and a whole different background can help you learn new ways of thinking. It teaches you how to be less rigid in your approach. This flexibility is important to develop a forward-thinking mindset that can lead to better and more creative solutions in your own work.
3. Sense of Fulfillment
You can’t deny the fulfillment you feel when you see the positive impact you had on someone’s life. As a mentor, you have the chance to directly contribute to the success and growth of another person who trusted you with this task.
“To me, mentoring is an awesome mix of mutual education, value spreading, applying my own experience to a multitude of real-life situations, getting an extensive amount of feedback, and learning more from it. It helps me to better understand complex situations, to know the limits of my experience, and also what potential skills to develop. Combined with the mentees’ success and positive feedback, it makes my work more enjoyable and my life much happier.” – Dmitry Zaitsev, Head of Account Management
It’s not only mentees who can benefit from the mentoring relationship when it comes to networking. Mentors should also be aware of interesting connections they might establish through their mentees. After all, networking is a two-way street.
5. Career Growth
Mentoring can be a fantastic addition to your resume if you’re looking to advance your career. It shows that you have experience and knowledge that you choose to use to help others shape their careers. This is a strong indicator of your interpersonal skills and ability to establish effective working relationships.
If you want to stand out from the crowd and show how you can make a difference in an organization, a mentorship experience can differentiate you from the rest of the competition.
As you can see, introducing mentoring in your life can bring you many benefits. This is only the beginning of the possibilities that may await you when you take this new step forward in your career. Will you accept this challenge?