The difference a mentor makes

Mentoring makes a difference.

Mentors are not just a ‘nice to have’, they are essential if you want to accelerate your career or the growth of your business. Mentors can make the difference between people who simply advance up the corporate ladder one rung at a time and those who skip rungs.

Studies show that:

  • Professionals who have used a mentor earn more annually than those who don’t. Among executives interviewed in one study, 75 percent say mentoring has played a key role in their careers.
  • Those with mentors have higher job satisfaction, productivity and retention.

So let’s take a look at how you can develop great mentoring relationships.

Some myths about mentorship

  1. Mentors are stepping stones:

It’s important to remember that mentors are not stepping stones, they are real people. Build rapport, align interests, and figure out what you can give.

  1. Anybody can mentor you:

What you’re chasing is wisdom, not titles. You must find someone with the relevant skills, but in order to do that, you need to know where you are now and where you want to be. That’s the only way a mentor can effectively help you.

 

What kind of mentor should you look for?

Ideally you will be looking for someone who is just one or two steps ahead of you careerwise, and you should do this for a couple of reasons.

  1. A step ahead mentor is someone who recently went through challenges that you are currently experiencing.
  2. They may not be so swamped in their career or business that they cannot give back and they understand the importance of helping out.

The other type of mentor you should have in your mentoring network is someone who can take a helicopter view of your business or career. This is someone with a wealth of experience, who can see all the mistakes you’re going to make so much quicker than you can see them because he/she has been through it all.

You need this type of mentor to give you the long-term view. This type of mentor can help you with challenges such as – “Here is my career plan for the next five years, what do you suggest?”. On the other hand, the ‘step ahead’ mentor can help with much shorter-term challenges such as reaching a roadblock when working on a project.

 

Find out more about ABDO peer to peer mentoring here.