Finding a professional mentor can seem time consuming and an additional task at times. However, the payoff for having a professional mentor is worth your time and energy. A mentor is an individual whose experience and knowledge the mentee respects and admires. It is someone who has the wisdom and know-how that can support the professional growth and development of the mentee. Often times it is someone in senior level management, a boss, a professor or in general a person with more experience than the mentee. While it is not necessarily hard to find such people around you, it can be hard to find those that are right for you and willing to invest in you. Here are 5 things to look for in your prospective or even current mentor.
1. Admirable career and experience
A good professional goal is to find a mentor who will help you advance in your career. In finding a mentor, you will want to ensure that the person you choose as your mentor has a career and an experience you respect in your chosen industry. For obvious reasons, you will not want to be led by someone in whose footsteps you don’t want to follow. However, your mentor does not necessarily need to have the exact career you aspire, but it is crucial that you admire the path they have taken to get to where they are right now.
2. A character you respect and with whom you feel comfortable
Choose a mentor with whom you feel comfortable sharing personal and professional information and data. The responsibility of a mentor includes helping you with your goals, providing advice and assistance, coaching you, and encouraging you. It is when you feel comfortable with your mentor and respect their character that you can become receptive to these things. If a person has an amazing career and experience but yet has a personality you can barely stand, you will find it hard to take their mentorship seriously.
Find a mentor who is trustworthy. The not-so-fun part of mentorship is having a mentor who can see your weaknesses and struggles and help you attack those challenges. In fact, it is one of the most significant aspects of mentorship. One of the ways to grow in your profession is recognizing your weakness and working towards improving it. Having a mentor that can openly discuss your problems, give you solutions, set goals for you and hold you accountable is simply an excellent way of advancing in your career. However, all of this would be impossible if you don’t have the trust it takes to be open and honest with your mentor.
4. A willing mentor
Choose your mentor carefully; you need a mentor who is committed to your professional success such that they have and are willing to dedicate some time to you. It is not enough if an individual has all of the above qualities but not willing to take the time and energy to invest in you. It is easier to employ the wisdom and knowledge of a person who is willing to coach the mentee. Without a genuine care and best interest for the mentee, it can be difficult for an individual to be an effective mentor.
5. Someone who has got your back
A mentorship requires a personal connection. The hope is that you find a mentor that you can spend time with frequently. In doing so, it is critical that a mentor believes in the mentee the same way the mentee believes in the mentor. These relationships are highly successful when the mentor can see the potential of a person and trust that they have the capability to reach their desired goals. Having a mentee motivates the mentor to invest in the individual. It also encourage the mentee to press forward when there is someone behind them to encourage and push them.
6. A personality to connect with
The personality of your mentor and how well you connect with him or her can affect how much benefit you receive from them. You obviously don’t want to feel like it is a daunting task every time you meet with your mentor. Yet, you don’t have to be best friends either. What matters is that you enjoy the time you spend with your mentor and value what they have to say.
Mentorship is a beneficial relationship that could be a tremendous support in your career. It can open doors to many opportunities for growth. Conversely, don’t assume that mentorship is only advantageous to the mentee. Mentors receive as much benefit as they shape the next generation of their company or organization. Moreover, mentoring allows employees and leaders to share the business knowledge that they have with others. Finally, mentoring creates the “circle of life” – serving as a mentor is a great way for an individual to pay back to those who have invested in them before.
Lexacount Search is grateful for Bezawit Dabi’s hard work and research assistance. This posting would not have been possible without her exploration of this topic area.