I read an interesting article full of great common sense career success advice on Ms Career Girl recently. I know I’m no girl, but I follow this site because it has a lot of wonderful life and career advice. The article was called “Why You Need a Mentor.”
It was written by Nadene Cherry, a sales woman who specializes in technology solutions for business. Nadene is also a mentor, speaker and sales coach. Check out her blog Fresh on the Job.
Why You Need a Mentor — Nadene Cherry
I’m not talking about an unplanned work chat with a more tenured peer while passing in Starbucks. I’m not talking about a one-time sit down with your boss to discuss last month’s project or this week’s performance. I am talking about reaching out to a person, inside or outside of your company, who you respect and find their insight valuable. This means reaching out and asking this person to mentor you either bi-weekly, monthly, bi-monthly as your coach.
Here is why YOU need a Mentor:
1. Undivided Focus on You. How often do you have someone sitting down listening about YOU and only YOU? It’s not a vent session to your boyfriend about a tough week or a difficult boss. It’s a strategic conversation with constructive criticism and improvement with time.
2. Unbiased Opinion. Typically, your mentor doesn’t sit next to you every day and your mentor does not know your boss. Your mentor has their own improvement plan and will provide you with an outside perspective you will NOT get from your Mom, Dad, girlfriend, or coworker. The “aha” moment you need to to make changes and grow.
3. Personal and Profession Goals. When else are you verbalizing where you want to go and how you are going to get there? Goals in your head are OK, goals on paper are excellent, but communicating your goals out loud is the BEST!
4. Long Lasting Relationships. The beautiful thing about a mentor is that they become part of your life and coach you through various stages of your career. You may change titles and companies 3 times but the mentor you choose has knowledge and skills that will translate into any career move.
5. Future Opportunities. Just today I had a mentor reach out to me about a “possible opportunity” for one of his clients. Your mentor has a vested interest in you and understands your strengths. This means YOU are front of mind when your mentor has an opportunity arise where you could benefit.
I have seen and experienced so much personal and professional growth from building relationships with my mentors. I encourage you to THINK about someone you have met over the course of your career who you admire and respect. Please reach out to this person for a one-on-one sit down and simply ask for their direction. People feel good about helping people, and before you know it, YOU will be the one mentoring others.
I like what Nadene has to say here. I’m a big believer in the importance of mentoring. Tweet 51 in my career advice book Success Tweets says, “Find a mentor. Mentors are positive people who will help you find the lessons in your experiences and use them to move forward.”
I have been fortunate to have had several mentors in my life and career. All of them shared several characteristics. They all…
- Were willing to share their wisdom, knowledge, skills and expertise.
- Had a positive outlook on life. They helped me through tough times and showed me how to find the opportunity in the difficulties I was facing.
- Were genuinely concerned about me and my success. In addition to being knowledgeable, they were empathic.
- Really knew what they were doing. I respected them for their knowledge and skills.
- Kept growing themselves. All of my mentors were curious and inquisitive. Sometimes the roles were reversed. They asked what I was reading, and then read the books themselves – so they could learn and we could discuss the ideas.
- Gave me direct, constructive feedback. They held me to high standards. They congratulated me when I met their expectations. They corrected me when I failed to do so – but in a manner where I learned what not to do the next time.
- Were respected by their colleagues. People who are highly regarded in their field or company make the best mentors.
- Sought out and valued the opinions of others. My best mentor always told me to listen most carefully to the people with whom I disagreed – in that way I might learn something. And, he was right.
As the old saying goes, a mentor is someone whose hindsight can become your foresight.
I’ve created an acronym to define what it takes to become a good mentor. A good mentor…
M Motivates you to accomplish more than you think you can.
E Expects the best of you.
N Never gives up on you or lets you give up on yourself.
T Tells you the truth, even when it hurts.
O Occasionally kicks your butt.
R Really cares about you and your success.
Look for people with these qualities when you are searching for a mentor. Embody them yourself when you are mentoring others.
The common sense career success coach point here is simple. Mentors can help you create the life and career success you want and deserve. Successful people follow Nadend Cherry’s advice and the career advice in Tweet 51 in Success Tweets. “Find a mentor. Mentors are positive people who will help you find the lessons in your experiences and use them to move forward.” You can enter into a formal mentoring relationship. Or you can just observe people you admire. They can mentor you without even realizing that they are doing so. And, it’s never too early to become a mentor yourself. There is always someone who needs your career advice; someone who needs to know what you’ve already learned. Be a positive person. Help others achieve the life and career success they want and deserve.
That’s my career advice prompted by Nadene Cherry’s article on mentors on Ms. Career Girl. What do you think? Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment. As always, thanks for taking the time to read my daily musings on life and career success. I value you and I appreciate you.
PS: If you haven’t already done so, I suggest that you check out my career advice book Success Tweets and its companion piece Success Tweets Explained. The first gives you 140 bits of career success advice tweet style — in 140 characters or less. The second is a whopping 390 + pages of career advice explaining each of the common sense tweets in Success Tweets in detail. Go to http://budurl.com/STExp to claim your free copy. You’ll also start receiving my daily life and career success quotes.
PPS: Have you seen my membership site, My Corporate Climb? It’s devoted to helping people just like you create career success inside large corporations. You can find out about it by going to http://www.mycorporateclimb.