Any English dictionary will tell you a mentor is an experienced and trustworthy person who you can turn to for advice -mostly in the professional world. However, it is not always easy to get a mentor at the workplace. Many hesitate to open up to senior colleagues and prefer to find a mentor online, hoping that the physical distance will make it easier for the mentee to confide and equally comfortable for the mentor to be frank. If you do find a professional coach, brace yourself to discover some harsh truths about yourself, even as you bask in the glory of having a Godfather.
Confused? Let us take you through a list of things we find a career mentor will definitely tell you:
- A mentor will always tell you to identify and achieve your career goals. The first thing you will be asked is to pinpoint the reasons behind your choice of profession, job or career. Next, you will be asked where you want to be a year later, three years from now or what you want to achieve in five years. And because it is not a job interview, you will also be told how realistic or achievable your aspirations are and what you should do to make them true.
- A mentor will steer you towards real goals, and not hesitate to tell you to drop whimsical, exaggerated and even trivial pursuits. Many of you may have false notions about your own capabilities or high expectations from your job roles. Giving you the correct picture and helping you realise what you should be aiming for is also precious advice that only a mentor who has rich experience can give. When you get a mentor online, expect objectivity.
- A mentor will boost your confidence and prod you to perform better especially when you fail or are lagging behind. This is because a mentor who has recognized your innate talent, will also understand what led to a setback. Instead of criticising you, a mentor will engage you in a post-mortem of sorts about an unsuccessful attempt and help you overcome your shortcomings.
- Finding a mentor for career advancement is one thing, but placing your trust in that person is another. Especially because mentors will point out your lack of knowledge or skills, your wrong attitudes and your behavioural blunders. Do not fool yourself into believing you are above mistakes or you will find it difficult to accept your mentor’s words of wisdom.
- A mentor may not stop at giving your career the right direction, but may even suggest improvements to your personality traits. If you draw boundaries and try to shut out the well-meaning advice, you will miss out on an important benefit of the mentor-mentee relationship. It is only when you achieve a good balance of personal and professional development that success has any meaning.
- When you find a career mentor, you will be surprised that the first thing taught is the correct use of time. A mentor teaches you to be productive at all times which in turn sparks off good reviews at work, promotions and a better lifestyle. This not only helps you build a good career, but also boosts your self-esteem and confidence.
In conclusion, do not look only to expand your network when you find a business coach. When tapping into your mentor’s industry connections, remember you are using the goodwill created by a lifetime of relationships and achievements of another senior professional.