Mentoring – Making Connections That Matter
You are never too young or too old to be mentored. A good mentor can help you keep your career challenging and fulfilling, even if you are in the later stages of your career.
No matter where you are in your career, there is always someone who knows more than you, who can help you gain a better understanding of yourself and improve your skills.
The art of passing knowledge and expertise from one person to another through a mentoring relationship is not new, it’s a long-established tradition.
Maybe you feel stuck in your career and are not sure how you can move to the next level, are facing some difficult career decisions or are at a crossroads, not knowing which way to go. A mentor can be of benefit in all these types of situations, helping you discuss different alternatives, ideas and plans.
A mentor may have faced a similar situation and may be able to share their experiences and wisdom to help you decide on the best path for you to follow. They may just be able to suggest different options and give a different perspective that you may not have considered. Always remember that you are the final decision-maker, but having a mentor to consult with can give you more confidence in your final decisions.
When should you seek a career mentor?
When you first start out on your career you think you can do anything and have it all, and you think you have forever to do it. At this early career stage there is a lot of ambition, but it needs to be channelled correctly. Once you hit your 30’s and 40’s priorities often change as you take on more financial responsibilities, this is when you can get stuck in a rut and become overwhelmed. By your 50’s you could be at the height of your success and may be looking more towards how the rest of your career could look for you. Every career stage brings a different ambition, and a need for a different kind of mentor.
Although any time can be a good time to enter a mentoring relationship, it becomes more meaningful when you have a career goal in mind and/or want to pursue a career challenge or opportunity. Career goals can include many things; overcoming knowledge or skills gaps, clarifying career choices, or simply to achieve a better work-life balance. Our mentoring platform contains a number of tools to help you identify your key needs and set achievable goals. Once you identify your motivation(s), you will feel more prepared to enter and progress in a mentoring relationship.
What a career mentor can offer
A career mentor helps you go where you want to go in your career. They can provide a unbiased view to help you identify your blind spots and a big picture perspective of your career and what to look for in your next opportunity. They can help you identify and work on your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and show you how to apply them as you develop your aspirations and vision and work towards your goals.
And the benefits for mentors…
People often think mentoring is only one way, but a younger person may have the skills to provide reciprocal or reverse mentoring. Seasoned professionals can still learn so much from a younger person’s approach and their understanding of an everchanging world. You just need to be open to new learning and possibly even a little bit of criticism.
Reverse-mentoring means that you tap into the ideas and expertise of a more junior person. A younger, less-experienced person may have a better understanding of their peers’ expectations in the business and digital world. So, mentoring goes both ways. While you are helping a mentee to find their path, don’t underestimate the valuable insights they can share with you and miss out on the opportunity to learn from them.
One of the positive outcomes of the Covid pandemic is that it has meant that video conferencing is now much more accessible to all and has opened up the freedom to have mentoring conversations and build relationships both near and far.