A mentor is an individual who provides guidance, expert knowledge, and support to help someone else develop certain levels in different spheres of life, such as professionally, academically, or in business. Mentors provide a platform for their mentees to learn from them by making themselves accessible, holding the mentees accountable, providing advice, and generally serving as an authority over the mentees’ lives.
There are different types of mentors, including peer mentors, mostly made up of professional colleagues who provide guidance and advice; career mentors, who are mostly higher up on the career echelon and provide career guidance to the mentee; and life mentors, who are way ahead of the mentee in every way and provide guidance covering several areas of life’s activities.
Mentoring relationships are subjective to the individuals involved, but in recent times, mentoring services have become part of the portfolio of career development companies and consultancies.
If you however decide that you are in need of a mentor, and would rather seek out your mentor personally, here are some attributes you should look out for:
– For someone to mentor you, you must identify with such an individual’s core values. If there is no compatibility between the mentor’s experiences and expertise and the mentee’s dreams and aspirations, the relationship is likely dead on arrival.
Discussions on platforms like ReviewsBird.com show that many mentorship arrangements have been frustrated because of a lack of compatibility about issues like honesty, integrity, hard work, sharp practices, and many more.
– Your mentor should also be versed in the field you hope to get into, or you are already in. This way, you get quality advice to make insightful and strategic decisions that will improve your career life. Mentors also provide fresh perspectives to ideas and career decisions.
– Your mentor should be trustworthy. If you are to make plans and strategize with anyone, he/she must be an individual that will keep your confidential information secure.
– The number of years or titles does not make a good mentor. Rather, a good mentor is made by the amount of leadership he/she is willing to offer, the amount of experience and expertise he/she has, and how accessible he/she is willing to be to attend to the needs of the mentee.
Now that you know the attributes to look out for in a mentor, here are the roles of a mentee:
– Be real. As a mentee, you need to be truthful about where you are in your life’s journey, and where you need help.
– You need to be teachable if you want a successful relationship with your mentor. If he/she knows that you will not listen or harken to his advice, he/she might not bother to hold you accountable, or even offer quality mentorship to you.
– Be serviceable. Do not look out only for what you can gain, but how you can be useful to your mentor. In the process, you will develop a lasting relationship and learn skills or tips up close that might have been difficult to see from afar.
– Be respectful. A mentor invests his time, expertise, and experiences in you in hopes that you achieve certain goals and aspirations. Do not take the access for granted, or treat the relationship shabbily. Respect the mentor’s investments by playing your part.
– Care about your mentor. There is no human being that will not be positively disposed to an individual who truly cares about his/her wellbeing.
It is important to note that a quality mentoring relationship is not built in a day. In fact, all the elements that make up a mentoring relationship require time, and will likely be tested repeatedly during the course of the relationship. However, there have been relationships that started as a form of mentorship and became a lifelong familial relationship.