Qualities to Look For in a Mentor

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A mentor can truly be one of the most valuable assets in your professional life. No matter what level you are at in your career, one can always benefit from having someone more experienced and more connected in their corner. Mentors have been proven to help advance careers, support new ventures, and provide guidance every step along the way. When choosing a mentor, there are a few qualities that you should be looking for.

 

Experience

The entire purpose of building a mentor and mentee relationship, is to create a space where the mentee benefits from the mentor’s experience. Make sure that the mentor you choose has pertinent and appropriate experience, and that their career path or expertise aligns with your career goals.

 

Motivational Abilities

A mentor should have the ability to teach you how to be better and more productive. It’s important that you two have great professional chemistry and that they have the tools to motivate you when you’re feeling discouraged or unsure.

 

Network

This is HUGELY important. A good mentor will be able to get you connected with relevant professionals within your industry and beyond. A well connected mentor means you will be guaranteed great introductions, get access to career-relevant events, and be put into the line of sight of thought-leaders in your field.

 

Goal Oriented

As a mentee, you will undoubtedly have goals and aspirations of your own. But your mentor should have the ability to hone in on what you want to accomplish and create realistic step-by-step goals that will lead you down the correct path. A great mentor will help you stay focused and provide guidance when goals feel unattainable.

 

Clear Perspective

It’s very important that your mentor bring unbiased opinions to the table. The last thing that you need is someone who will always take your side in a moment of professional (or personal) conflict. You will need someone who is ready to listen to your side of the story and give you appropriate and realistic feedback; they need to be able to tell you when you are wrong.

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Building a Mutually Beneficial Mentor-Mentee Relationship

When entering the professional world, having a mentor can be very important. In fact,  a 2012 Dimensional Research survey revealed that mentorship was the number one request by millennials worldwide. 42% of millennials said that when it came time to enter the professional world, they wanted mentors.But can the mentor learn from their mentees as well? It turns out that the mentor-mentee relationship has become mutually beneficial.

To understand the ways the mentor-mentee relationship in changing in today’s society, we must look at how millennials are shifting their focus. While they are strongly enthusiastic about getting mentors, they don’t necessarily want to follow in their mentor’s shoes. It may seem at first pointless to mentor someone who isn’t doing exactly what you want to do. Perhaps this diversity in aspirations is what leads mentors to learn from mentees, too.

But there are more benefits to the mentor-mentee relationship than seeing someone choose their own experience. So what is it that makes mentoring a younger person such a good life experience? And how can we get the most out of the mentor-mentee relationship?

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Of course, it feels rewarding to help another person. But there are more benefits to the mentor-mentee relationship than the satisfaction of lending a helping hand. Mentoring a younger person also gives a mentor insight into the mindset of the younger work force. This allows the professionals in higher up positions to understand more about millennials who are entering the workforce. It also gives the mentor connections to the mentee’s friends and peers. This network of people provides many viable candidates for professions that need to be filled. Companies and individuals will need to hire these young professionals in the next 10 to 15 years in order to stay relevant.

One of the most important things to remember when maintaining a mentor-mentee relationship is to keep it professional. Make sure that the friendship does not become one similar to a parent and child. It is important to set expectations and remain constructive. And of course, stay open to learning new information and skills from your mentee.

The younger crop of professionals can also help out their mentors figure out new aspects of the professional world that may be stumping them. For example, millennials are a great source of information on how to manage social media. In the information age, technology is constantly creating new jobs and new professional angles that are necessary to take. A mentor is an enormously helpful person in a young professional’s life. But in an ever changing professional world, mentees can help mentors get ahead in the professional world, too.

The Importance of Professional Mentorship

There is a common misconception that mentorship becomes unnecessary shortly after adolescence. In more ways than one, professionals can argue that mentorship can provide significant advantages and connections, as well as plant seeds for future growth. The process of mentorship is often veiled under the guise of “networking,” however, a network connection and a mentor play two very distinct roles. A mentor has the ability to enhance career development in others by sharing perspectives, insights, and experiences. While a network connection is simply another professional one knows in their respective industry, a mentor can foster a stronger relationship in which not only the minute benefits, but also the mentor. If you’re a tenured professional in your field, perhaps you should consider becoming a mentor. Here are a few ways mentors can benefit from and mentorship.

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As a mentor, you have the ability to take on leadership roles you may not otherwise be able to conduct. Perhaps that promotion you’ve been eager to get just hasn’t arrived. Or perhaps you’re simply as a stage in your career that lacks upward mobility and your day-to-day duties have become fairly stagnate. Becoming a mentor allows you to break the monotony, sharpen the leadership skills you’ve taken so long to build, and potentially make a huge impact on someone else’s life. In addition to re-energizing your routine, becoming a mentor will allow you crucial practice coaching in a professional environment. One of the biggest, most common challenges leaders face is how to effectively teach and train another. Mentoring helps you strike a balance between “know-it-all” and knowledgeable; instead of providing unsolicited advice, a minute is eager for guidance.

In addition to helping someone else by sharing your wealth of knowledge, becoming a mentor can improve your reputation in the industry. Helping others is a sign or true leadership and valued at all levels of an organization. Mentoring proves that you have the ability to work well with others, lead and coach when necessary, and more importantly, it shows that you aren’t fettered by unnecessary competition or desires to constantly best your colleagues. Mentors are often crucial resources and sought after for their immense pool of knowledge.

Think about if you’re in the market to become a mentor today!