Who is a mentor? What does a mentor do for you? Who can be your mentor? How can you become an effective mentee?
We have collected relevant articles from around the web for prospective mentees to help understand mentorship and how to get most out of it.
Who is a mentor?
A mentor is someone who takes a special interest in helping another person develop into a successful professional. Good mentors are able to share life experiences and wisdom, as well as technical expertise.
A mentor is someone who has priceless experience that you don’t have yet, who has made all the necessary mistakes on the road to success, learned from them, and is willing to pass on those lessons to you.
A good mentor can help you avoid common mistakes early on, solve troublesome problems, and offer up valuable connections and advice, while helping you realize your full potential as a person.
Anyone who’s achieved some success in life will likely reflect on their journey and wish they knew back then what they know now. And while time travelling is off the table, imparting those experiences and lessons in the next generation is a nice alternative.
A mentor is a trustworthy adult or older student who is available to answer your questions and guide you. He or she might also act as a role model to you and give you support to help you reach your full potential. Some schools and organizations have mentoring programs that connect you to adults or peers, but you can also find a mentor on your own by talking to a teacher, an employer or an older student whom you look up to.
What does a mentor do?
A mentor can be a role model, coach, sounding board, voice of reason, emotional support, counselor, and a trusted resource. What does a mentor do? Depending upon the mentee’s needs, a mentor:
- provides guidance and advice
- offers encouragement
- explores different careers
- discusses goal setting
- advises on professional development
- identifies resources
- helps to develop leadership skills
- provides insight into corporate culture
- can provide exposure and visibility within an organization
- advises on networking and networking opportunities
- reviews resume
- provides interview tips
- introduce to contacts
At the beginning of your professional career, everything can seem overwhelming. Perhaps you’ve started a job in an industry unrelated to your degree. Maybe you’ve changed career paths. No matter the situation, a mentor can help.
In the middle of your professional career, everything can seem boring or mediocre. The newness has worn off, you are confident in your skills, and the climb up the ladder is often tedious. It’s easy to get into a career rut and feel like you’re just going through the motions. In the middle of your career, too, a mentor can guide you.
And at the end of your career, when you’ve accomplished all you set out to, even as things wind down, career coaching can help make that transition smoother.
In short, finding a mentor is a vital part of any thriving career, at al stages. Don’t miss out on the guidance a mentor brings and the boost you’ll see in your career.
Here are some of the ways career coaching can help you.
- Acknowledge your shortcomings.
- Develop your strengths.
- Learn something new.
- Discuss difficult decisions.
- Connect with new people.
There’s a lot that you’ll never learn in management textbooks and seminars—but that you will from firsthand conversations with a trusted advisor. A great mentor can also help you figure out which new areas you can explore within your field and which skills you should be expanding upon.
Having a mentor within your company is particularly valuable—she can identify opportunities for advancement you might overlook, guide you through challenging projects, and help you build relationships with higher-ups. Most importantly, if she’s influential, she can earn you recommendations for special projects or teams that you might not have been considered for otherwise. And these are the factors that are going to pave the way for success at your company.
Who can be your mentor?
Many mentors emphasize the need for congruence between your goals and the skills and knowledge that someone you admire can share with you. Sometimes, you’ll be seeking a role model: someone who is the kind of person you’d like to be. But to advance your work you may also need someone with content expertise, or someone with influence in a field, who has a wide network of contacts.
Remember that somebody considered as being at the top of their field may not necessarily be a good mentor. The mentor’s personal attributes—for example, patience—and their values—for instance, altruism—are fundamental to a good mentor and mentee relationship. You should like, respect, and trust your mentor, and know that they have your best interests at heart.
An academic adviser might or might not be a mentor, depending on the quality of the relationship. Some students, particularly those working in large laboratories and institutions, find it difficult to develop a close relationship with their faculty adviser or laboratory director. They might have to find their mentor elsewhere-perhaps a fellow student, another faculty member, a wise friend, or another person with experience who offers continuing guidance and support.
Many people look at mentorship like they look at romantic relationships: They’re trying to find ‘The One.’ But it’s smart to have several different mentors over the span of your career—and maybe even several at the same time.
“I like to think about mentors as a board of advisors,” she says. After all, you may have an older and wiser professional who gives you big-picture career advice, a peer mentor who can relate to exactly what you’re going through and someone who’s great for dishing out insight into how a career move might affect your personal life. Once you broaden your horizons—instead of trying to focus in on one ideal person—you’ll realize mentors come in all different forms.
How can you become an effective mentee?
Ideal mentees share certain qualities: They are enthusiastic, energetic, organized, and focused. They embrace feedback while remaining honest and responsive. They always behave with integrity and recognize that hard work and sacrifice pays dividends down the road. Ideal mentees thus learn to underpromise (“I’ll have a first draft to you in one week”) and overdeliver (“I know it’s only been three days, but I have a first draft ready to share with you”). And they always make sure their work is high quality.
The four golden rules of effective menteeship:
- Select the right mentor(s)
- Be respectful of your mentor’s time and manage it wisely
- Communicate efficiently and effectively with your mentor
- Be engaged, energising, and collaborative
An effective protégé
- Is clear about what they need from the mentoring relationship
- Does some prior research and comes to meetings ready to initiate conversations, not just respond
- Listens carefully, lets information percolate, and reflects on it
- Takes responsibility for their own learning
- Understands that they will at times feel challenged by a suggestion, idea, or task
- Tries to meet a challenge in order to learn and grow
- Is willing to experiment and work outside their comfort zone
- Respects time parameters and confidentiality
- Doesn’t insist on special favors that the mentor has not offered.
Being a mentee – how to get the most from mentoring, imperial.ac.uk
Ten Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Mentor, theLadders.com
5 Ways To Make The Most Out Of Having a Mentor, Forbes.com
4 Reasons Why You Need More Than One Mentor, Lifehack.org
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