The Importance of Mentors

  • On July 22, 2021

Everyone at some point in their life has needed to lean on someone they trust for advice or assistance. No matter who that person is, a friend, coworker, teacher, they are everyday examples of why mentors are important for not only our personal lives but our professional ones as well. Mentors help to guide, direct and shape your present situation and future opportunities for the better based on their life experiences.

A mentor is someone with whom you can develop a long-term relationship that revolves around the mentee’s growth and development. However, they do not work on a daily basis to help a mentee make decisions, but to serve as someone who can offer support, wisdom, and teaching when needed. Mentors are different from coaches because a coach is someone who focuses on specific strengths and weaknesses, while a mentor/mentee relationship tends to be long-term and less structured.

There are many reasons why it is beneficial to have a mentor and to be a mentor. The relationship paves way for a two-way street of benefits. Mentors share their knowledge and experience with you so that you can learn from their experience. Professional mentors will often share ideas for projects you may work on or offer advice for career or position-changing moves. 

It’s often easier for someone outside of yourself to notice where you need improvement. A professional mentor understands your strengths and weaknesses over time and can play a critical role in helping you become the best version of yourself. They can also introduce you to their professional network and help to set you up for success in your career endeavors.

Mentors are not only around to point out flaws or give advice. They also serve as a support system to provide you with encouragement to take risks and believe in yourself. When you need to ask someone’s opinion on a big decision, you can turn to your trusted mentor for advice. While some mentors prefer to guide you to your own answers, others may be straightforward with their advice. Either way, they can help you make small or life-changing decisions. Making mistakes at work is inevitable, however, you can learn lessons from your mentor’s past experiences so that you can avoid making big errors in the future. The relationship between a mentor and a mentee doesn’t cost money. They are a priceless asset!

There are several reasons why you should become a professional mentor as well. As a mentor, you work on your verbal and written communication skills by working with your mentee and having conversations. Since you share your own knowledge and experiences, it can also help reinforce what you know and give you opportunities to learn something new. Depending on your career or situation, being a mentor can help to boost your resume as it helps to demonstrate leadership skills. You can also broaden your network by connecting with other mentors and leadership professionals.

While not the primary goal of mentors, when you are a good mentor and your mentee succeeds, part of the success is owed to you, giving you recognition for the work you put in. Ultimately, the highest sense of recognition you may feel is the sense of fulfillment and personal growth when you look back as a professional mentor on the relationship with your mentee(s). Importantly, when you are a mentor, you are a leader. This dynamic relationship will assist in improving your leadership skills over time.

The goal of mentoring and having a mentor is to not only help the individual asking for assistance, but have general common goals of that specific relationship. Both sides should understand confidentiality and anything said should not be repeated outside the conversation unless specified, agree to be honest and transparent with one another, and be open to listening and learning during conversations. Both parties should also be able to commit to the partnership so neither person’s time is wasted, embrace opportunities to lead by example, and remain open-minded for flexibility. 

Mentors can become go-to individuals for advice and support during hard times or topics requiring difficult decision-making. They are also around to celebrate your achievements, regardless of how big or small they are.

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