Why You Need Multiple Mentors
19th October 2016
Why learn from your own mistakes when you can learn from someone else’s? Good mentors can raise your game; improve skills and open doors to fast-tracking your career.
Words: Terence Mauri
So what’s a mentor?
In simple terms, a mentor is like a critical friend with life experience. It’s a respected person who’s probably achieved a high level of professional success in their field and is a role model who will guide you on your career journey.
We all need a gentle push sometimes to try harder and think bigger. It’s all too easy to end up listening to the little man, that voice in your end that says, I’m not good enough, I can’t do it and it won’t work. The fancy term for this state of mind is ‘self-imposter syndrome’ and it can derail your career prospects faster than the blink of an eye.
Why Mentors Matter
Now before you start having nightmare visions of mentors from X-Factor or The Voice knocking at your door, let’s be clear about why mentors matter. Zero contract jobs and a cut throat job market mean that you must not only be smart but show that you are smart. Being mentored gives you new ways of thinking and a chance to focus on yourself and your career.
Here are six tips to find the right mentor for you.
1.Track record. Check out your mentor’s background such as knowledge, experience, skills and personality. The first two will get them hired and the last two fired! Idealist Careers and the Aspire Foundation are a good place to start. Idealist Careers is a great platform for matching experienced mentors to motivated individuals who want to future proof their careers and stand out from the crowd while Aspire makes a difference for women.
2. Eat problems for breakfast A great mentor will help you eat problems for breakfast. By asking questions and getting to the root cause of a challenge, a mentor can help avoid paralysis by analysis and move fast. Problems will be divided into speed bumps or brick walls. Most problems are speed bumps – this simply means you can overcome them if you have the will and skill. A brick wall problem is tougher. It might be that your dream job requires complete re-training or relocating overseas. Not insurmountable, but certainly a harder nut to crack!
3. Listen loudly. Make sure your mentor is a great listener. Not easy in a world where we are constantly by distracted social media. Does the mentor ask open questions and help you cut through all the noise and focus on the one thing you must develop to build up your career prospects? As the saying goes, questions are one half of wisdom.
4. Become a lynchpin. A good mentor will help you become a lynchpin. This means you develop the know-how to make yourself indispensable to any employer and difficult to replace. Now that’s a winning career plan.
5. Grow Your Posse. No posse equals no career. Any mentor who is as good as he or she claims will give you access to movers and shakers. A posse is simply a network of useful contacts that will help you progress faster in your career and will act like a safety net catching you when you fall. And the highest paid jobs rarely get advertised. Why? You’ve guessed it. The highest paying jobs are mostly advertised by word of mouth.
6. Turn ideas into action. At some point you have to turn talk into action. In a competitive job market, only the fittest survive. Your mentor will help understand that the best way to grow is to do.
Mentoring is no longer a ‘nice to have’. It’s a survival skill. Good Luck!