Do you believe that having a mentor will help an individual achieve their professional goals?
There is no question that an effective mentor can help an individual achieve his or her professional goals. That being said, “effective” is the operative word. Finding and selecting a knowledgeable and caring mentor can be challenging. However, if one is fortunate to find a mentor who is selfless, truly wants a mentee to flourish, and knows in which direction to point the individual seeking help, the outcome can be very positive.
It depends on the goals one has set for him or herself and the willingness of a mentor to actually be of assistance. Sometimes just finding a “role model” and following him or her, as to what he or she has done and continue to do on his or her career path provides a bit less formal course of action.
Likely, there are some rare folks out there who have a clear vision of where they want to go and how to get there, but most of us need a mentor or a series of mentors. They can help in small and large ways. My mentors made me aware of opportunities, nominated me for various leadership positions, gave great advice, and were terrific role models.
Having or seeking out a mentor can add valuable skills but it can’t be a forced relationship. Sometimes it’s someone you work with or for or someone you can emulate from afar. If you are able to experience mentor’s traits or outcomes and can implement what he or she does in your own style, it saves painful mistakes along the way. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, lots of them, be curious….learn. But results aren’t overnight, it’s a journey with a mentor as he or she leads and produce, then watch, listen, ask questions and try the same steps he or she has made. What’s the saying “Imitation is the greatest form of flattery,” plus you’ve observed results so why not implement in your own style so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
You can learn what to do and what not to do from a mentor by observing what works and what doesn’t and by putting your signature on it. I believe a mentor is instrumental in achieving professional goals.
Research demonstrates that mentoring is associated with a wide range of favorable outcomes including:
- Attitudes (eg, work satisfaction, attitudes toward school, career)
- Interpersonal relationships
- Improving performance and attitudes toward school/work
Mentors equip protégés with knowledge, wisdom, and practical know-how. They can also empower what protégés want to do and become. Protégés, in turn, can spark new ideas and provide valuable work support for mentors who often lack time to accomplish all that they have to do. As such, the relationship requires two-way giving and taking. Some relationships develop spontaneously while others are founded in formal mechanisms for collaboration like graduate education and professional engagement. A good mentor has the potential to expand your thinking to consider new goals and options and to help you develop a workable actions plan, and commit to it. Be prepared to work if you engage in this relationship.