It’s often claimed that there’s a mentoring relationship lying behind every flourishing business enterprise or successful career, but is that really the case? Can mentors really be that instrumental? Well, mentors can certainly help entrepreneurs to realise their potential and are capable of opening doors for those who want to advance in their careers: yet there are others who succeed alone through sheer will and determination, who don’t so much open the doors themselves, as break them down. So, if you can succeed as a self-starter, then why would you need a mentor?
Mentoring is one of the most effective tools for career advancement. An effective mentoring system allows a mentee to utilise the full range of skill sets of those around them, it can help them get their feet under an industry stakeholder’s table, connect them with those that matter. Mentors can advise and guide pupils during the turbulent times as they strive towards success in their chosen field. Even those self-starters with all the enthusiasm and drive needed to make it to the top, will definitely gain from a mutually beneficial mentoring relationship. Nobody, no matter how focused, can possibly ever know all the answers. Is there any need to break down doors when someone can open them for you?
How can you spot a good mentor and know whether they’ll be right for you?
Mentors are everywhere and we come across them every day of our lives. We’re involved in the mentor/mentee relationship in one form or other from the day we’re born: we’re mentored and advised by our families, at school or college, at work and even by our friends on occasion. It’s just that we tend not to spot it because it’s so close to us. Mentors don’t need to be traditional work-based or industry-based professionals. All they need to be able to do is be capable of advising and suggesting ways to achieve goals or overcome difficulties.
Mentors need to be able to build a relationship with their mentee which is productive and mutually beneficial. Above all else they need to be able to listen. Every person’s problems and difficulties will be different. A good mentor should approach each new relationship with an open mind and never pre-judge situations based on past experience.
How do you know if you’ve found the right one? Well, the short answer is that you’ll never know until you try. It could be that the mentor you choose isn’t right for you, or perhaps that the two of you don’t gel in quite the way you’d both prefer. If there isn’t trust and respect, then it will never work. If that happens then mentees should broaden their search and look for alternative mentors. There’s actually nothing to say you only need to have one relationship. Careers and businesses can be complicated; a mentor may know the media world inside out, but that won’t necessarily make them the go-to person when it comes to the advantages and benefits of setting up an e-commerce website. Why not look to different mentors for their different specialities?