Life consists of a series of unexpected events and fateful decisions; therefore, it's always a good idea to have a mentor. A mentor is someone you look up to and respect, often with an influencing role in your life, providing guidance when needed.
Accordingly, when you choose a mentor, you should be mindful of some points. Luckily, we'll help you know them all in this article. To know how to choose a mentor, read on!
Why Choose a Mentor
If you haven't had a mentor before, you might think it's an overrated experience. But let us tell you that it definitely isn't. Whatever your career is, you'll face setbacks and hardships. That's where a mentor steps in like a knight in shining armor. Here's what a mentor can help you with.
Guidance and Feedback
If you're still at the beginning of your professional journey, you'll need someone by your side to advise you on career-related aspects, like what roads to take and what roads to avoid. Accordingly, you'll be less likely to have a setback in your career.
We tend to look at life through only one scope; accordingly, it's helpful to have someone with a different perspective. It broadens our ability to deal with challenges and gives us insight into new ideas and unique approaches. As a result, we become better in our careers.
The essential role of any mentor is to give you enough information about the field you're working in and its developments. This keeps you updated with the latest info about your industry, making you a better fit for jobs.
How to Choose a Mentor
Choose a Mentor With Shared Values
When looking for a professional mentor to give you expert advice, it's essential to consider your character first. We all have different traits and values, which helps in bringing new perspectives to our lives. But if you have shared values with your mentor, it'll be easier to build a solid and trustful relationship.
Having the same values means having similar thoughts and goals for your career. Accordingly, communication will be a smooth experience, and you'll easily understand their way of thinking. This will also make your mentor's work more manageable, as they'll be able to give you practical advice according to your character.
In general, you'll benefit much more if you choose someone compatible with you. It'll also lessen the chances of disagreements about specific plans and opinions. In addition, having a healthy relationship with your mentor will increase your trust in their decisions and advice.
To achieve this, you should do a little research before choosing a mentor. First of all, you should research their career and take a look at how successful it is. Second of all, check their professional connections and whether they're always present. Finally, learning more about their motivations and values will help you make an educated decision.
Look For Someone With the Right Expertise
You may think that the most vital aspect of choosing a mentor is how long they've been working in the field, but this isn't always the case. Sometimes, the right expertise isn't about years of experience or career positions but rather about the knowledge and experiences they've been through.
Contrary to popular belief, knowledge and experience don't necessarily come from long working years. Rather, they come from the challenges people face and how they deal with them. And if you're looking for a trustworthy mentor who'll help you advance in your career, they're a must.
Moreover, expertise is relevant, and it's not a given that someone's expertise will benefit you. That's why it's essential to look for someone who's gone through similar situations as you did.
To sum it up, don't make a rash decision depending on someone's title or years of experience. Instead, look for their history and how they got over the obstacles that faced them during work. This will help you make the right decision.
Find Someone You Can Trust
Trust is the pillar of any relationship, whether working or personal. Therefore, you must find a mentor who you can trust. Remember that they'll help you make life-changing decisions, so you can't choose someone you have a personal feud or a bad history with.
Choosing the right trustful mentor will assure you as you share information with them in confidence. You won't have to constantly watch your back, which can be tiring. To trust your mentor freely, you should set some ground rules before you start your mentoring sessions.
As time passes, you'll get to know your mentor better, and you'll be able to communicate with them with no worries. Once you've established a solid trust level with them, you'll be able to move forward with your career.
In addition, note that the right mentor will challenge your weaknesses to strengthen them, know when to ask the right questions, and deliver honest feedback, whether it's positive or negative.
Choose Someone Outside of Your Comfort Zone
We all tend to stay near our comfort zone when we make fateful decisions. While this is the safer choice, it isn't always the right one. Sometimes your chance lies right outside your safe circle. That's why you need to choose a mentor that can challenge your abilities.
If you choose someone very close to you, a best friend, for example, they won't be able to give you the new perspective you need. Moreover, they'll be aware of all your weaknesses. Therefore, they'll stir away from them. On the other hand, if you neglect your weaknesses, how will you ever move forward with your character and career?
Furthermore, you should have the courage to choose a mentor who's different from you. To elaborate, you shouldn't necessarily choose someone older than you or someone who's the same gender. It'd be best if you had an unfamiliar viewpoint to give you more clarity. Therefore a little change won't do you harm.
If you're afraid of future conflicts in your workspace, try looking for a mentor who doesn't have the same professional circle that you have. This way, you'll be more confident while talking to them.
Look For Someone Who's Achieved the Goal You're Willing to Achieve
If you're looking for a mentor, you're probably looking to change your current position, make a career shift, or start a new career. Therefore, you're setting goals for yourself to accomplish. For the best outcome, you should choose a mentor who's achieved similar goals.
This will benefit you in so many ways. For starters, you'll see a realistic scenario that leads to the goal being achieved. This will give you better insights into the right path towards your aim. Once you decide on a goal, you'll be able to narrow down your choices of the right mentor.
In addition, if you're applying for a specific position, look for mentors who are in the same position or have been before. They'll be able to advise you about handling some situations and challenges that you may face.
Finally, on the condition that you're shifting careers, it'd be best if you do a little research about the career paths of the mentors you're choosing from. This will help you find a suitable model that you can follow. To summarise, mentors who have been down the same road you're just beginning are the right choice.
Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Mentor
Do I Look Up to This Mentor?
Ideally, you should look up to your mentor and hope you'll be like them one day. If they share your professional outlook, this step will be much easier because you'll know their achievements and the challenges they faced.
Can I Work Well With This Mentor?
While you may have found a mentor who meets all of your requirements, they don't necessarily have to be an ideal partner. It's essential to find someone you can work and communicate well with.
Moreover, your mentor should be inspiring and supportive. They should also give you their undivided attention and appreciate your needs. To have this, you should know the person well before you ask them to help you. Just remember that even if they have enough knowledge and experience, they may not be the perfect match for you.
Is My Mentor Happy in Their Career?
Being good at something doesn't necessarily mean that you should love it. The same goes for your mentor. It shows if someone hates their job, and they're often not the best choice as a mentor. Ideally, you should seek out someone passionate about their career.
To Wrap Up
To face the challenges that life throws our way, it's essential to have someone as a reference. To elaborate, you should have someone to talk to before making life-changing decisions about your career. This someone is called a 'mentor'.
Your mentor should have the same values as you to make the process of mentoring smoother. They should also be able to give you proper advice and lead you to the right path. Choosing the appropriate mentor is challenging, but it'll make your life easier and give you a head start in your career. We hope you'll be able to make the right decision now!