Mentors are a wonderful thing. I would be so bold as to say that mentors can simply change a person’s life. There, I’ve called it! The world could benefit from more knowledge, wisdom and insights to help personal and professional growth at all ages. The mentor doesn’t always have to be someone more senior sharing with someone younger; reverse mentoring is equally important, particularly when you think of the pace of change and digital skills coming through into the industry. There is simply just so much to learn.
I have had many mentors throughout my life and have learned something different from each one, but the most significant was a mentor I was paired with through my college when deciding what career path to take. He gave me a copy of We, Me, Them & It: How to write powerfully for business by John Simmons, which I think had a significant impact on me as a writer. He also organised a day for me to shadow his marketing manager, which ultimately confirmed that I wanted a career in marketing!
So, if you haven’t thought about having a mentor or joining a mentoring session yet, this article will explain why and how you can benefit.
1. Brings different perspectives
Having a mentor allows you to explore new perspectives and look at situations and challenges in a different light. In addition, someone with experience in the topic is likely to have been in similar situations and will have some interesting thoughts on how to deal with that situation.
2. Challenges your thinking
These new perspectives often challenge your thinking. This is great! Bringing fresh perspectives are at the heart of a mentor’s role – to suggest new ways of thinking and looking at situations to help you on your journey. I would suggest going to a mentoring session with an open mind and ready to learn.
3. Learn from more experienced individuals
The great thing about having a mentor is that you learn from someone who has more experience than you (hopefully) in a certain area. With this experience comes knowledge and practical tips on how to approach and handle different situations.
4. Networking & connections
Having a mentor is one of the most important routes to building your network and connections. Not only with the mentor, but their connections as well. The chances are your mentor will have their network, which, if you are lucky, they could open up to you to help.
5. Gain practical advice
Practical advice is another great reason to have a mentor! Sometimes you might just need a mentor to talk through certain situations or ideas, but other times you might seek practical advice on what to do next. Mentors are fantastic at offering different tools and techniques they’ve collected throughout their career journey to help you.
6. Increase confidence
We all suffer from imposter syndrome at some stage in our lives. So let’s first normalise that. This could happen at any point in your career or life; however, how we tackle this is important. A mentor can help you increase your confidence tenfold by empowering you to use all of these newly gained skills, techniques and tools within your life. Sometimes just having an independent person to help talk through is what you need.
7. Develop communication skills
A mentor can help you develop communication skills – whether that is just understanding how to have conversations with people at different levels, your peers or how you present yourself in meetings.
8. Develop strategies for dealing with career/workplace challenges
We have all probably experienced difficulties in team situations where you may have felt unsure how to act or respond. A mentor can be a great confidant in helping you to unpack the problem and develop strategies to deal with something in the future should you find it happening again.
9. Benefit from a sense of fulfilment
When working through personal and professional development, there is often a sense of fulfilment as you move the dial forward – it’s a sense of progression and growth knowing that you have invested time and energy into yourself. You should ALWAYS feel proud of giving yourself this opportunity.
10. Develop leadership skills
Last but not least, having a mentor can help you develop and hone your leadership skills. Leadership is such an important trait to develop within life, and learning through others experiences is very special.
You can have mentors throughout your life to address different aspects of your development, and it’s important to say that these relationships can last for a few sessions or much longer, depending on the need & requirements. It’s a two-way relationship that both parties will get something out of, which brings me to my final piece of advice. Think about what you want your mentor to help you with and choose someone who has that experience, and then think about what you can also offer the mentor in return.
There are always lessons waiting for us.
How to start your mentoring journey
If you are interested in starting your mentoring journey but you have no idea where to start, register to our completely free mentoring programme, where you’ll get access to over 80 industry giants every week.