Mentorship is about experienced individuals sharing their knowledge and information with other less experienced individuals. It’s an opportunity for a mentee to tap into the vast knowledge that a mentor has accumulated over the years. It’s not training however training is a component of mentorship. A mentor normally gives of their time to help guide others to reach their full potential. Through inspiration and guidance they receive their gratification by observing the mentee grow, become successful and achieve their goals.
Finding the right person to be your mentor could be one of the most important decisions you make in your career. We all have different strengths and weaknesses and no single person knows all of the answers. So when a time comes when you are faced with some challenge or tough decision, having someone to go to for advice can mean the difference between success and failure.
Your mentor can be your go to person to; bounce ideas off, brainstorm, discuss challenges, help you with planning, review the financial health of your organization or department, help you set and meet goals, etc. A good mentor will inspire you to greater heights. One important benefit of working with a mentor, especially for individuals who lead organizations, is the fact that you are accountable to someone. Access to a mentor will give you the opportunity to draw upon his/her many years of experience.
So what do you look for in a mentor? I believe the best mentor is a person who has already proven themselves by being a successful leader. Your mentor should be a good listener and be willing to take the time to fully understand a situation before offering advice. The best scenario is to find someone who understands your organization or business, look for someone who is/has worked in the same or similar type of organization. Finally, you need to connect with your mentor at a number of different levels, you need to get along well with them, feel comfortable talking to them about any topic and be able to have frank and honest discussions with them. Choose your mentor wisely.
A good mentor will help you make sound decisions. In the vast majority of cases you will already know what needs to be done and you may just require verification of your decision. In addition, a good mentor can lift a huge weight off your shoulders allowing you to feel confident in your decision making process.
If you don’t currently have a mentor I’d strongly advise you to make the task of finding the right person one of your 2013 goals.