Wherever you are in your career, it can be difficult navigating alone. This is where a career mentor can help.
“A career mentor is someone who shares their knowledge and expertise with you in order to help you set goals, fix problems, and make good choices along your career path,” says thebalancecareers.com/
The non-profit careers organisation also says that mentors and mentees (the people being mentored) both have better salaries, get more promotions and are more satisfied with their jobs.
A study taken by Sun Microsystems also revealed that corporate mentors were promoted six times more often than those not in their mentorship programme, and mentees of the programme were promoted five times more than employees without a mentor. Clearly, having a mentor can have a direct correlation to career progression.
A mentor can be someone in a similar field to you, or someone who you look up to professionally with experiences you think you can learn from. Choosing someone in a completely different industry can also have its benefits. It depends which kind of experience you value the most.
However, it is recommended to look for someone who doesn’t work closely with you because a mentor should provide unbiased advice, so should have some distance from you day-to-day.
Getting involved in a mentoring programme has the potential to be hugely beneficial to both parties, so the we have put together some information on how finding a mentor can help you achieve your career goals.
Have a sounding board
Being able to ask questions and discuss problems in an unbiased environment that won’t compromise your professional credibility is a huge benefit of having a career mentor. Seeking advice on how to deal with difficult situations, how to get yourself noticed and generally learning from someone who is in a position that you aspire to can be priceless. Having a sounding board can also help to improve your confidence and encourage reflection – both of which are attractive traits to an employer. Mindtools.com also highlights that speaking to someone who has a different perspective to you can help develop new ways of thinking which are beneficial to overcoming obstacles.
A mentor can help you clearly define your goals from a neutral position. The-happy-manager.com highlights that defining goals creates a clearer focus and is a more effective use of time. However, sometimes it’s difficult to define goals yourself, as when you are in the thick of it, it can be tricky to step back and see what’s needed in order to move forward. A career mentor can help you define your next steps using their own experiences, and often it’s their mistakes that can be the most useful to learn from.
Research by the successfulacademic.com has shown that self-monitoring is an incredibly useful technique for breaking old habits and creating new ones, but sometimes it’s hard to see how far you’ve come or, even, where you’re going off track. A career mentor can see your situation with a fresh pair of eyes and help you see where you may be going wrong, and also where you should be celebrating achievements. Having someone to help identify and celebrate your achievements with you can help boost your confidence and your sense of progression, which will both work to keep you motivated to achieve more.
Whether you feel like you’ve lost your way or you’re eagerly awaiting the next challenge, seeking a career mentor is an incredibly rewarding and beneficial use of your time. Setting goals and improving your confidence are key to progressing.