In the workplace, a mentor can be described as someone who has relevant experience and is willing to offer support and guidance to others to assist in their professional development. Often a trusted and knowledgeable person, the mentor will share their expertise and can be instrumental in propelling your career forward.
Having a mentor can assist you in a number of ways. A mentor has worked hard and has gained the experience, skills and knowledge that you do not yet have. Therefore they are able to offer sound guidance and insight based on what they themselves have learned throughout their own established career.
Due to being in the mentor's company, it gives you far more scope to ask questions ‘as and when’, and to learn ‘hands on’. If you lack confidence or experience, it is invaluable to watch someone else perform certain tasks while they talk you through it. By doing this, you can easily identify areas in which you may initially struggle. The mentor can guide you in developing specific skills which may be needed in the future and provide regular feedback and practical help to help you become increasingly more competent.
With the experience that a mentor has, often comes with it an extensive professional network which you will invariably become introduced to and familiar with. A network of like minded professionals can provide access to new opportunities and open doors regarding further learning and job prospects.
Everyone has times in their career, especially at the start, when it can feel quite overwhelming and you may feel unsure on what path you should be following but this is again where a mentor can prove invaluable. By helping you define your goals you can begin to create a solid plan on how to achieve them. The mentor can be there when you hit blocks and help you navigate around them to reach your milestones.
During challenging times in your career, the mentor will be there to believe in you and encourage you to continue with your dreams. They already know you well. They know what you are talented at and what you need to improve upon. Having someone who really believes in you can make a huge difference to your self esteem and can help push you out of your comfort zone, knowing that they are there to fall back on if needed.
During mentoring and the intensive support that you receive from them, you will improve your self awareness and quickly cultivate a growth mindset, striving for perfection so that one day you may also become someone else’s mentor.