So how do you find a suitable mentor?
There are a lot of blogs, books and seminars run on mentoring – either gaining a mentor or being a mentor to someone else. I speak to managers and candidates on a daily basis and one of the things about having a successful career is finding people you can trust to seek advice from when making key decisions throughout your career. As your career evolves so should your mentors – they will come in and out of your life as you need them.
Here is my snap shot of what I think makes for a good mentor/ mentee relationship.
Naturally – Finding a mentor should happen naturally, it should not be forced or contrived, it should happen through mutual camaraderie. It is most likely someone in your organisation or in your wider industry circles who you think quite highly of, have respect for their opinions and their career achievements. Your mentor does not have to be your direct supervisor or manager, they could even be your peer or co-worker. There are no scheduled “sit down” meetings as such but rather one on one time as required.
Trust – Trust is essential in any relationship and never more so with a mentor. Your mentor should be someone you can 100% trust in regards to confidentiality and it is paramount that they have your best intentions for you and your career. It is important that you obtain sound advice from your mentor but they are certainly not going to make your decisions for you – that you have to do on your own along the way.
Mutual Respect – in most circumstances your mentor will be providing you with advice, however they too are gaining value out of this relationship. This should be a reciprocal relationship and you should never abuse their time or their generosity – they are not your therapist.
Values – It is essential that the values of you and your mentor align. If you find that you are gaining advice from an individual and it does not sit well with you or you are feeling compromised that means they are not the right person for you to get advice from. Your mentor should appear naturally and the word “mentor” should never be mentioned or referred to.
Be Yourself – most importantly you should feel that you can be yourself and feel comfortable in asking any questions without feeling you will be ridiculed. The age old saying ‘No question is stupid!’ is essential in this relationship.
Have you thought about being a mentor or supporter to someone in your organisation?
Author: Nicole Reynolds, PATH4 Global Logistics