When it comes to learning your trade, it is all about applying yourself, getting as much experience as possible, and choosing the right mentor for you. Mentoring offers a near-limitless pool of knowledge and teaching that can help to boost your career possibilities and growth. Mentees are now looking towards proactive mentor schemes to ensure that they invest their time in the perfect person for them, it terms of reliability, style, experience, and accessibility. Learning under the tutorage of someone who has expertise and years of experience in the field is invaluable in terms of expanding your career horizons.
What is a mentor?
Simply put, a mentor is a person with superior knowledge on a subject, with experience and a key set of skills and expertise that can prove useful to you. Essentially, they know a lot about your chosen career that you do not. A mentor will meet with you on a regular basis to impart wisdom, examine your goals, advise you about career challenges, and teach you vital information. Not only this, but they may also have access to a valuable industry contact list. This mentor could be a fellow employee who has simply been at the job longer than you, it could be your boss, or it could even be someone from outside the company.
What to look for in a mentor –
Mentoring is a very personal experience, so it is important to find a mentor who matches up with your own personality and learning style. Perhaps you would prefer to look for someone who has worked in a similar capacity to you and faced similar challenges in their career. Firstly, you must understand and be clear with regards to what you are looking for in a mentor. Do you need help with a specific project? Do you want to enhance a particular skill? Are you changing fields? What do you need from them? After this, look for someone you aspire to be like. If the mentoring goes to plan, then your next steps could mirror their own, so choose someone you admire and look up to. You may be attracted to certain qualities they have that you would like them to teach you, such as leadership or conversational skills. Perhaps the most important thing is to find a mentor you actually like and get on well with as a person. Mentorship relationships are built on give and take, so pick someone you have good chemistry with.
How to find the ideal mentor for you –
Firstly, identify some possible mentors. These could come from within the company, such as senior members of staff, managers, supervisors, even your boss. Or perhaps you would like to look outside the company through mentoring schemes and websites. Once you have found an ideal candidate, reach out to them via email and ask for an informal chat to start with. This will allow you to grasp whether you get on well with them. Be sure to explain what you are looking for from a mentor and ask any questions you may have with regards to their skills and experience. Finally, ask how they would feel about taking on the role of your mentor.
Benefits for the mentee –
- A valuable learning experience
- Access to years of experience and expertise
- Constructive criticism
- New ideas and ways or working and thinking
- Development of existing and new skills
- Professional guidance
- Developing strengths
- Improving weaknesses
Benefits for the mentor –
- Development of leadership and teaching skills
- Reflection on personal goals, skills, and career
- Being viewed as a leader or expert
- Professional development
- Popular within the company
- Get to hear fresh ideas from the mentees
Benefits for the company –
- Growth within both mentors and mentees
- A positive development process within the company
- Improvements from all involved
- Enhanced leadership from experienced employees
- Faster rate of learning from new employees
- Ability to teach the company policies and attitude
- A culture of development and growth
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