Using a Mentor
Very few successful people achieved their success without the help of a mentor. A mentor is someone you can turn to for useful advice that is best for you and not for an organization or for others. A mentor is someone with whom you can share personal doubts and not be concerned that those doubts will be shared with someone else. A mentor is also someone who has had similar experiences in his/her career.
Having a supportive mentor doesn’t happen without effort on your part. In some cases, a mentor will be assigned to you. In other cases, you will need to seek out a mentor. In either case, your mentor will not be helpful to you unless you make the effort. Here are things you need to do to develop a mentor who can be helpful to you.
- Be open with your mentor. A mentor can’t help you unless you let your mentor know your concerns, questions, successes, and personal ambitions.
- Meet with your mentor on a regular basis. These should be face-to-face meetings. It’s hard for your mentor to help you without the ability to see you and be able to ask follow up questions. Electronic communications just aren’t that effective for this type of guidance.
- Accept and act on the advice your mentor gives you. When you don’t think the advice will work, talk this out with your mentor. Let your mentor know your concerns about the advice. Talk out your concerns. Don’t leave the meeting without a plan for moving forward.
- Once you have acted on the advice, let your mentor know how it worked out. Remember, your mentor is learning from you as well. Hearing back from you is also great motivation for continuation of support for you.
You should have the goal of having your mentor “own” your career success. People love to see those they guide become a success. The more you can reinforce the value of the guidance you are given, the more your mentor will want to help you.