6 reasons to find a mentor

Mentorship comes in all shapes and sizes.  Whether we know it or not, we have all had mentors in our lives: our parents or grandparents during our youth, professor or coach during our academic careers, or influential bosses or colleagues that we admire and respect.  Rarely do individuals who have attained great success achieve it alone. 

The benefits of having a mentor can truly propel your career.  You can learn from someone who has already walked the path you are walking.  Mentors can help you see your career opportunities through different lenses and open doors along your career journey. 

Here are some of the benefits of having a mentor, according to Blue Sky Coaching: 

1. Networking. Mentors can provide knowledge and the right contacts: mentor's contacts, which have often taken the mentor many years to cultivate, are made readily available through your relationship you’ve cultivated.

2. Business and life skills. As a mentee, you can also learn valuable business and life skills from your mentor, including best business practices and appropriate business protocols.

3. Insight. A good mentor can also arrange experiences, such as participation in meetings, events or work experience, which will enable you to gain insight into an organization’s culture and systems.

4. Perspective and vision. Discussions with your mentor will stretch your thinking by providing you with a different perspective, as well as the benefit of your mentor's vision, which comes from their wider experience.

5. Wisdom. As a mentee, you can also benefit greatly from hearing the lessons that your mentor has learned along the way through their past experiences - both their successes and failures.

6. Improved performance. A good mentor will provide you with valuable feedback or make suggestions that will enable you to improve your skills or to experience personal growth, ultimately leading to your improved performance.

When considering a mentor, seek out someone with good listening skills, someone who is willing to challenge you, and someone who is willing to share their own experiences with you. 

Wherever you find yourself in your career – even if you are in the process of reinventing yourself – reach out to your network to find a mentor.  The person could be someone at your office, or someone who belongs to your professional association, community group, or volunteer group. The important thing is be proactive; don’t wait for a mentor to find you. 

AACRAO will feature a webinar on the topic of mentoring Tuesday, May 10th--“Using Mentoring to Encourage Others (and Ourselves).” Julia Pomerenk, University Registrar at Washington State University and Heather A Chermak, University Registrar at the University of Idaho, will discuss ways to improve mentoring skills and share how to incorporate a mentoring perspective into your work and personal life. Click here for more information and to register.