While often thought of as mostly valuable at the start of your career or when deciding what you want to do with your career, a career mentor can add significant value right throughout your career. A career mentor can guide and support you to achieve your career goals – whether you’re just starting out or further down the track.
At the beginning of your career, it’s certainly a great idea to find a mentor to help you navigate through these formative years. In addition, the stress of changing careers later on, or the complacency that some people feel after being in the same role for several years, can also be a great time to engage a career mentor.
Learning from someone who has been successful in your field of interest helps improve your confidence and will often provide you with some great strategies to deal with the challenges you might face along the way. So what are the primary benefits?
1. Learning from Real Life Experience: A career mentor will provide you with valuable advice and insight into their own personal journey in the field that you have chosen. They can help you identify skills and expertise you need to develop further – and either teach you or advise you on how best to gain what you need. Mentors can also provide a good perspective on what they may have done differently given the chance. They will share tips on how they overcame any obstacles or challenges they faced along their road to success.
2. Connections: In addition to insight from your mentor’s personal experiences, you could also benefit from their vast network of connections. If your mentor doesn’t have experience with a particular problem you are facing, they will most likely be able to talk with someone who has. In addition, contacts introduced to you by your mentor could provide an opportunity to build your own network. These connections could also help you in the future – by providing a potential business partner opportunity or even a future job lead.
3. Sounding Board: A mentor provides a great ‘safe’ place to bounce off ideas and help you decide which way to go in certain situations. They can also make suggestions that could help you to refine your ideas and provide more efficient or effective ways of achieving desired business outcomes – mentors can often save you from ‘reinventing the wheel’ unnecessarily.
4. Increase Energy & Interest: One surprising benefit of a mentor is to increase your drive to achieve in your current organisation and excite you to pursue your chosen career. Mentors can help you overcome boredom or complacency to explore new and exciting ways to contribute to your current organisation’s success and thus increase your interest in your day to day work. They may also suggest ways to increase your involvement in activities outside of your organisation that will contribute to your career success in the future.
5. Advance Your Career: A mentor helps you stay focused on your career and improve your skills, networks, self-confidence, and ultimate success along the path in developing your career. They help you to learn about yourself and work out how and where you should be headed to achieve an optimum outcome.
Mentoring will teach you what education, books and websites cannot. A mentor will help you identify areas for improvement, establish connections, and create opportunities. It’s up to you as to how hard you want to push yourself, but the insights you can gain about yourself and your chosen field from a passionate and experienced mentor can give you an unprecedented edge over others in developing your career.
Would you like help deciding whether you would benefit from a Career Mentor? Not sure where to go to identify one? If so, our Career Advice and Career Counselling Services can help! Please see our Career Coaching page for more information.