The Most Important Things You Should Consider When Choosing A Mentor

Surviving in the professional world can be quite daunting sometimes. It may feel like you are alone dealing with a world much bigger than yourself in which you may feel abandoned, inconsequential and insignificant. Sometimes it may be difficult to get your bearings and decide where to go next and how to make the tough decisions that will affect your professional future and even the future of your other team members. It doesn’t matter who you are or at what point of your career you may find yourself, a mentor is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal to help you navigate uncertainty.

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Image courtesy of Tony Webster at Flickr.com

Here at Suzzanne Uhland’s blog, we have talked about the great advantages of having a mentor and the ways the can help you boost your career advancement. Even though the practice of mentorship is a mutual process that cannot be rushed or monopolized by only one of the parties, it is very useful if at least one of them is informed about the skills, attitude, and expectations that should be observed when getting involved in a mentor-mentee relationship. For the mentor is important to self-evaluate and see if they are up to the task of holding such a responsibility and for the mentee is crucial to understand how to make the most out of the bond so it can be as mutually beneficial as possible.

Let’s take a look then at some of the most important aspects to consider, when choosing a mentor or when deciding to become one.

Success is a good indicator of the right mentor.

Success comes with a price and that price is more often than not, paid with dedication and hard work. A mentor is someone you should look up to, and therefore they must have achieved a level of distinction within their field that you want to emulate to some degree. Look for a person who is already at a place where you want to be yourself, either professionally or personally. Remember that being successful is much more than being wealthy or having a great position within a company. You must also weigh in other aspects that you consider make a person admirable in your eyes and successful within your own personal parameters of achievement.

Mentoring is a two-way street.

Understand this is a reciprocal relationship and both parties should give as much as themselves as they are receiving from their partner. A mentor is a human being and just like their mentees, they are not a finished product, they still have much to learn from other aspects in life. Even just the fact that they are mentoring someone is a very rewarding and challenging opportunity to learn. Some people wrongfully believe that the mentee’s job is to receive while the mentor gives and gives; nothing could be further from the truth as the right partnership involves both parties giving and receiving.

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Image courtesy of Unsplash at Pexels.com

Choose someone who is different from you.

A mentor is a person whose life and achievements you value, this could be in the personal as well as on the professional spectrum. Seeking for a mentor that can help you in different aspects of your life is the best way to get the most out of your partnership. Mentors can be people who help you be healthier, to learn a new skill and also someone who can be part of your professional world and help you get ahead in that particular aspect.

Have more than one choice.

You do not have to go with the first person that interests you as a mentor. You can meet several people and evaluate each of them individually to make the best choice. Remember this is a partnership that you want to keep for a long time and it is important to be informed and well educated on the matter before you make a decision. Take your time and evaluate your options as you will have many.

Find someone with more experience than you.

The purpose of a mentorship is to find someone who can guide you and instruct you based on his or her experience in the field that you want to improve. Working with someone who has the same experience as you can be a great opportunity to discover new things together, but that is not a mentorship. If you are interested in a mentor-mentee dynamic then you must work with someone who is more experienced than you in order to take advantage of that experience.

Trust is key.

The relationship of a mentor and his or her mentee must be based on mutual trust and total confidence. Understand that your conversations and sessions are a safe place where no topic should be off-limits within the boundaries of reason. It is important you chose someone who you can trust because they will help you make decisions that are crucial to your future.

Your values and beliefs should be similar.

This goes with the point we just discussed. A person who shares moral perspectives and similar beliefs is someone who you will most likely trust easily. It is important to gauge this type of views before you being the partnership and that is why it is important to establish rapport and to engage in activities and time spent together before making a decision.

Great Ways A Mentor Can Boost Your Professional Life

A mentor is a person you choose to trust based on their experience, wisdom and willingness to help you in the enhancement of your personal and professional life. A mentor is someone who has lived some of the things you are going through and helps you make the most out of the situation by helping you recognize what you are doing right, what you have to adjust and how to best utilize your resources to receive the best possible yield out of your efforts. Mentors are a source of positive energy and attitude, as their outlook on life is always positive and they always help you look at the bright side of a situation and turn difficulties in learning opportunities by giving you direct and helpful feedback. Something else worth mentioning is that a mentor is always curious and inquisitive because they understand that they are not finished products either and that a constant search for self-improvement is a great example and a valuable lesson to teach those that follow them.

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Image courtesy of Tim Gouw at Pexels.com

Here in Suzzanne Uhland’s Blog, we have talked about ways to become a mentor and even the way mentoring is being portrayed in the media lately. Today, we want to analyze the specific ways a mentor can help you boost your professional life and aid you on the pursuit of a more fulfilling and successful career.

One of the greatest things a mentor can do for you is to help you be objective about your shortcomings, weaknesses, and mistakes. It is very easy to identify these things on others, but quite difficult to see it within yourself due to your own perspective and personal attachment to your situation. A mentor works like a mirror that talks back to you and doesn’t simply commend you on your achievements, but also helps you identify areas that need improvement and attention. A mentor is always thinking about what is best for you and understands the importance of having an open and honest relationship with the mentee in order to help them achieve the very best version of themselves.

Providing feedback while helping identify areas that need improvement is just one of the many things a mentor can do for you. Just as important as this, is the search for knowledge by taking advantage of the mentor’s experience.

A mentor is a person who is more knowledgeable in the particular area of expertise by which he or she was chosen to lead, and therefore, that knowledge is to be transferred in many ways to their mentee. It is important to consider that mentors have also made mistakes and gone through a lot of learning before they could find themselves in the position of being a mentor to others. That experience and the way they have reacted to those mistakes is one of the most valuable lessons a mentor can share with their mentees because those hurdles are probably common to that particular profession or line of work.

Another aspect that sometimes gets overlooked when it comes to the mentor and mentee relationship as well as the process as a whole, is the fact that a safe zone is provided for the mentees to decompress from their work environment and to talk about issues they may not be able to discuss with anyone else at work. It is no secret that work environment may be competitive and stressful environment and having a person available to talk to, to bounce ideas against and to turn to when searching for a fresh perspective can be extremely helpful. Some situations may be very sensitive to discuss with your boss or your co-workers, so turning to an outside perspective for advice is a great way to find possible solutions and to do so without risking possible negative consequences that may come from this.

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Image courtesy of Andrew Pearson at Flickr.com

A good mentor is also a positive role model. This qualification applies not only when it comes to the professional aspect of the individual, but also in the way they behave in general. Mentors are respected by the mentees and they look up to them in more ways than one. It is important for the mentor to not only upkeep that image but also find ways to create situations in which they can impart knowledge by allowing the mentee to develop specific skills and qualities that may help them emulate the way their mentors would handle a specific situation.

A mentor always has a plan, but better yet, helps the mentee create a plan together. These plans include short-term goals and long-terms goals as well.

Short-term goals are ways to focus your immediate attention on aspects that need attention right away. A short-term goal projects results to be expected quickly and clearly evident in the life of the mentee. Short-term goals are highly motivational because they help you see that the influence of the mentor is yielding results.

Long-term goals usually fix attention upon the future, the growth of the professional life of the mentee and the way future projects should be directed to make a true lasting change upon their development.