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Mentoring: What Is It and How It Can Help You

Jan 06, 2021

No matter how independent and confident we are, a time will come when we need someone by our side to guide and direct us onto the right path. While support from our friends and family is undeniably important, it isn’t always the support we are looking for. Perhaps we need professional support, or business guidance, and in this case, assistance from a trusted mentor is essential and it’s what we’re looking for. 

Let's take a look at mentoring in more depth, its pros and cons, and where to find a mentor.

Who Is A Mentor and How Does Mentoring Work? 

A mentor is an experienced, trusted, and knowledgeable individual who helps you to achieve your personal or professional goals by guiding, advising, supporting, encouraging, and motivating you. 

Good mentors don’t just tell you what to do in different situations but teach you how to solve problems, and help you to make informed decisions independently. 

Mentoring is a long-term relationship that focuses on the growth and development of the mentee in different areas. 

Mentoring can take place as often or as little as you like, for example, you may choose to meet your mentor on a specific date or have a phone call/email chat as and when you need support.

You’ve now got a better idea about mentoring, let’s check out some of its pros and cons.

What Are The Pros and Cons Of Having A Mentor?

Having a mentor in your life, whether it’s for personal growth or career goals, can lead to great things. Here are some pros:

  • Mentors share their knowledge and experience with you. Instead of using the ‘trial and error’ method when trying to achieve your goal, you can use your mentor's expertise to make better decisions. This will significantly decrease the time you take to achieve your goal because you won’t be wasting time making errors. 
  • Mentors can help to improve you. Over time, a mentor will get to know your strengths and weaknesses, and in doing so they can point out what areas you need to improve in. 
  • Mentors provide unbiased feedback. Yes, you can get an opinion from a friend or a family member, but unlike a mentor, friends and family are emotionally invested in you and might not want to hurt your feelings, so they won’t always give an honest opinion. On the other hand, a mentor will give you a straight opinion and won’t hold back on what they have to say because of emotional investment. 
  • Mentors can point out valuable opportunities that you might overlook. You might be so focused on our day-to-day tasks that it is hard for you to see the bigger picture. A mentor, on the flip side, is able to show you new perspectives. They may bring new opportunities to light that you would never have even thought about, if they had not mentioned them. 
  • Mentors keep you motivated. No matter what your professional or personal goals are, achieving success is rarely easy. There will be times when you feel discouraged, and support from a trusted mentor will keep you moving forward despite the challenges you might face. 
  • Workplace productivity can improve. If you have a mentor at work you may find that having them around to help you, and to share ideas with, makes you more productive. 
  • Mentoring might be beneficial to you outside of your job role too. Things you learn when being mentored can be applied to different parts of life, thus it can improve areas of your life that you may not have thought about. 

Mentoring however does have its flaws. Here are some disadvantages: 

  • Mentees rely on their mentors' judgment too much and lose the ability to make independent decisions. To avoid this, always keep in mind that it is your life and career. Do not feel bad if you disagree with your mentor on some points. Remember that discussing your feelings can bring a positive outcome for both of you. 
  • Time to develop a good relationship. It can take a long time to build a good mentor-mentee relationship, so you don’t necessarily get quick results. Also, you could spend time trying to build a relationship that is never going to work. 
  • Resentment. You might not agree on everything and this can then lead to feelings of resentment for both parties. In this case, the relationship is not working as it should and might lead to negative effects. 
  • Loyalty issues. This typically happens when in a workplace, and can be avoided by making sure you and your mentor are on the same wavelengths. 

Understanding your goals, setting reasonable expectations, and most importantly, choosing the right person as a mentor will ensure that you get the most out of mentoring. Join us as we look at where to find a mentor and how to choose the right person.

Where To Find A Mentor and How To Choose The Right Person?

In order for a mentor-mentee relationship to be beneficial, you have to choose the right person. This individual must be experienced, trustworthy, and inspiring. But there are more things to consider: 

  • You want to find someone with similar values to you. You will learn far more from an individual who shares your values on the most important things in life, rather than with someone who has opposite values to you.
  • It’s crucial to have a mentor who respects your goals and needs. You need to find a person who will not manipulate your situation to suit their agenda. Find someone who wants to guide YOU on YOUR unique path.   
  • An ideal mentor is a person you feel comfortable with. You must be happy to go to your mentor in times of trouble and when you want to celebrate your wins. 

Where can you find a mentor? Believe it or not, a mentor can be found anywhere. 

Think about somebody whose life inspires you, who you see as your role model, and who you would go to for advice. Look at your professional circle, consider college alumni, a former employer, or even your neighbor next door. Besides, many schools and companies have mentoring programs for their students and/or new workers. 

Think about the situation that you need a mentor for and think of someone close to this situation. For example, if it's a work-related mentor you need then chances are the mentor you need will be found at work, or in some professional capacity. 

You’ve now got a better idea about mentoring, its pros and cons, and where you might find a mentor. Let’s finish off by looking at Careerist’s mentoring scheme.

Mentoring At Careerist

At Careerist, we appreciate that learning new skills can be quite hard and can be very tiring for some students. And we know that looking for a job in a field that you know very little about, can be challenging, exhausting, and sometimes distressing. 

We understand that our students need continuous support and motivation, both during and after completing their course, which is why we have a solid mentoring scheme built into our course. 

Principles of our mentors:

  • Share similar ideas with students - Our mentors want students to succeed, and the students want to succeed too, so everyone is on the same wavelength
  • Respect - Our mentors respect the needs of the students and are there to support them through the low and high points
  • Motivation - Our mentors encourage students, both past and present, to stay positive after receiving job rejections. Motivation is often at its lowest during these times, which means having a mentor’s support is even more imperative then, more than ever.
  • Understanding - Our mentors have been through similar experiences, so they understand the importance and significance of being the best mentor to their students
  • Comfortable - Our mentors are approachable and always have time to listen to concerns from students
  • Promote independent decision making - Our mentors are there to guide students on their journey, but they are also there to teach students to make independent decisions and not to become reliant on them 
  • Present throughout the journey - Our mentors are present throughout so relationships can be built up fairly quickly
  • Listening - Our mentors want to listen to what students have to say and they genuinely want to support them on their journey to success

Additionally, our mentors help our graduates to improve their resume, to participate in mock interviews, and to provide feedback to them when they need it most. 

You can count on our mentors when it matters most!

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