A Good Mentor is Better Than All the Training in the World
While this title might sound somewhat provocative, and subject to serious discussion, there is an awful lot of support for the statement — both statistically and from individuals who have enjoyed the benefits of being mentored. Much is expected of employees in today’s workplace, and training is not always available from employers who are trying to economize in order to reduce expenses.
So how can you get up to speed quickly, with fewer resources available to you, and demonstrate that you can be a valuable asset to a company? One of the best ways is to find a mentor who can guide you through the learning process quickly and help fast-track you past many of the sometimes painful lessons that must be learned along the way. Here are some of the benefits which can accrue to a person with guidance from a good mentor — at work and in life.
The Role of a Mentor
Mentors can serve several different roles in helping you learn the essentials more quickly. In some cases, providing a quick tip can be solid gold in becoming proficient or knowledgeable about an activity; and that information might have taken much longer to acquire on your own. In other situations, a mentor might feed you a constant stream of support and encouragement to help keep you on track. Without directing you, a mentor can simply offer guidance that will help keep you on the right path to avoid career pitfalls which might derail your drive to success.
Mentors also serve in the role of a sounding board, willing to listen and to offer their own recommendations to you. This can be far more important than it sounds, yet quite often in life, all you really need is to get something off your chest and relate it to a sympathetic colleague. Their feedback and encouragement will be enough to keep you going, striving to achieve your objectives. A caring mentor who is genuinely interested in advancing your career can show you how everything you learn on this job can be put to use somehow on your next one — in other words, how to extract the greatest value from all your experiences.
If a mentor has done a good job of guiding you, you will have learned some of the most important lessons for your career and for your life. This learning will then put you in a much better position to become a leader yourself, when the time comes. What you’ve learned along the way can become immensely useful in helping you guide the lives and careers of others, and you will be armed with the knowledge you need to earn ever increasing responsibility and create greater success.
Benefits of Being Mentored
One very useful benefit of being mentored is that you’re likely to have access to a much broader network of knowledgeable individuals, simply because of the association with your mentor. Any questions which you might have that your mentor is unable to answer, might very well be solved by someone in his/her network, and that’s all a big benefit to you.
There is no doubt, in many cases, having a good mentor will increase the number of chances you have for career advancement. Mentors will often be aware of upcoming opportunities before you personally could learn about them, and they might also be able to give you a positive referral to a potential employer. All that gives you a leg up on the competition, and that might be just enough to earn you the position.
Sweat In the Dojo
A mentor is also a great person to bounce your ideas off, for instance if you’ve been thinking about developing a new product, or if you have invented something new. Your mentor can help you plan and organize your activities, so as to bring your product to the marketplace, and he/she also may be able to advise you on potential pitfalls and hazards. This just might be the difference between success or failure in your new enterprise.
There is also a certain element of accountability when you discuss your ideas with a mentor. When you relate your intentions and your goals to a mentor, it obliges you to follow through on them, and it makes you accountable to some extent. This makes it far more likely that you will follow through on ideas you have, and it means you will probably experience greater success earlier in your career.
A Mentor Helps You Shape the Future
Problem-solving is one of the big areas where a mentor can come into play, because a mentor will generally have much more experience at your position, and can help you solve issues which are troubling you. It might cost you a great deal of valuable time and effort to experience these missteps and mistakes inherent in the job, but a mentor can help you sidestep many of these problems and solve issues before they develop into major problems.
You can often get an entirely different perspective on an issue by listening to a mentor, because even though they are in some way involved in your industry, they will also generally have a certain detachment which removes them from the immediacy of an issue. This will help by providing impartial advice from a professional, and it may be extremely useful for you to take a different look at something so you can handle it better.
Mentors can be extremely valuable for keeping you on track and keeping you focused, especially given the fact there are so many distractions which can derail your activities. Having a person who can keep you focused on the goal, and your energies directed toward achieving that goal, can be priceless in terms of accomplishing your objectives.
Why Not Have More Than One?
In the big picture, a good mentor will almost always further your personal development and help you to become a better professional and a more knowledgeable worker. When you have numerous opportunities to discuss things with people who are more experienced than yourself, it can help you grow more quickly and to become more proficient at your job.
According to W. Brad Johnson, PhD, a Professor of psychology in the Department of Leadership, Ethics and Law at the United States Naval Academy, and a Faculty Associate in the Graduate School of Education at Johns Hopkins University, it’s best … to find more than one mentor, Johnson advises. “Make a constellation of mentors,” he says. “Don’t put all of your expectations on one person to meet your needs developmentally”.
Ultimately, having had good mentor to work with throughout your career will probably help you to become a great mentor yourself when the time comes. Sharing your knowledge and experience with others is not only personally rewarding, but it can also open up new opportunities and new perspectives for you as an individual.
Ready to begin your journey with a mentor? It would be good to read the suggestions of the American Psychology Association on Getting Your Mentoring Relationship Off to a Good Start. You should also know we are here for you, as well. Having lead in the diagnostics industry for decades, and now deeply, widely networked across diagnostics and biotech, we can provide all the insights described above, and then some. That’s what the plus sign in Cerca Talent+ is all about. We are something far more than your average recruiting firm.
Call us today for a free consultation to see if we can help. Whether it’s to bounce some ideas around, find focus, or just for a little encouragement, we are always ready to lend a hand.