Understanding the role of a mentor
Updated: Sep 19, 2019
“The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own.” — Benjamin Disraeli
“Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.” — John Crosby
1) What is a mentor?
By definition, a mentor is someone who successfully helps someone else to develop.
M - Manages relationship
E - Encourages the mentee
N - Nurtures
T - Teaches
O - Offers respect and advice
R - Responds to mentees needs
A mentor can unlock many doors for those who have careers, are studying for a degree, venturing into business, have fitness goals and are pursuing their passions. Moreover, a mentor can be the champion of your cause or your personal sounding board.
To find your mentor, you have to find the right person for guiding you. Your mentor must ideally have access to information and connections that would have been impossible to have if you were doing it alone.
“Every great achiever is inspired by a great mentor.”
2) What a mentor does for you?
A mentor does several things.
A mentor takes a long-range view of your growth and development. A mentor helps you see the destination but does not give you the detailed map to get there. A mentor offers encouragement and cheerleading but not "how-to" advice.
“A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you.” — Bob Proctor
3) Mentoring and Coaching: Similar but NOT the Same
The terms mentoring and coaching often get used interchangeably, which can be misleading. While similar in their support of someone's development, they involve very different disciplines in practice.
Mentoring consists of a long-term relationship focused on supporting the growth and development of the mentee. The mentor becomes a source of wisdom, teaching, and support, but not someone who observes and advises on specific actions or behavioral changes in your daily work.
“Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their growth.”
Coaching typically involves a relationship of finite duration with a focus on strengthening or eliminating specific behaviors in the here and now. Coaches help professionals to correct behaviors that detract from their performance or strengthen those that support stronger performance around a given set of activities.
Both mentoring and coaching offer incredibly valuable support. However, one offers high-level guidance for long-term development, while the other helps provide a more immediate improvement in targeted areas.
So if you want to perform well at work but don't have the experience or knowledge on how to best succeed, you must have a mentor or a coach to build new skills faster, facilitates pride and confidence in your work - and this can also be applied in other areas in your life.
4) Why would you need a mentor?
Here are a few good reasons and benefits for having a mentor.
A mentor provides you with information and knowledge
With a mentor, you tap into a wealth of knowledge that will get you up to speed faster and shorten that learning curve.
"Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn." - Benjamin Franklin
A mentor can see where you need to improve
A mentor will often be brutally honest and tell you exactly how it is rather than downplay any weaknesses they see in you. This constructive criticism will help you to see things in yourself that you wouldn't have recognized otherwise. For that, you need to be willing to be told exactly where you are lacking so you can improve those areas.
"Mentors have a way of seeing more of our faults that we would like. It's the only way we grow." - George Lucas
A mentor stimulates our personal and professional growth
A mentor will pose questions for you to think about. A mentor should also set various goals and watch from a distance to see how these projects help you to develop. A mentor should then tell you their observations to allow you to adapt, change and grow.
"The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves."
A mentor offers encouragement
A mentor should be there no matter what. A mentor offers moral support sprinkled heavily with cheerleading. A mentor's encouragement and guidance should give you hope and confidence.
"A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself."- Oprah Winfrey
A mentor creates necessary boundaries
Self-motivation and self-discipline are difficult, and one needs boundaries to work within. A mentor will help you to solidify your work ethic, sharpen your focus and clarify your priorities.
A mentor can bounce ideas for an unfiltered opinion
A mentor can help you see which of your ideas have potential and why others are better left alone.
A mentor is a trusted adviser
In the world of business, it can be hard to know whom to trust. Since a mentor is an objective third-party, a mentor would usually be happy to let you know honest thoughts and opinions. Additionally, you can trust your mentor to keep everything confidential.
A mentor can be a connector
A mentor can provide access to those within your industry, introduce you to talent or employers and help you get closer to your target industry peers. A mentor can do introductions for example, which can lead to opportunities you would not have otherwise had.
A mentor has the experiences you can learn from
A mentor has been where you are and has made mistakes in the past allowing him to share stories and advise you. Helping you to skip the devastating effects of not knowing.
A mentor is free, which makes it priceless
A mentor does not do it for the money. Instead, they are driven by the satisfaction of helping, paying it forward from a similar experience they had when starting.
Remember that having a mentor is not a sign of weakness; it shows you are smart enough and are driven enough to succeed!
We hope you enjoyed and learned from this article! If you would like more advices and tips, join us for one of our workshops or book a one to one session.