Behind every successful person is a mentor who inspired triumph. An effective mentor has the potential to make a significant difference in the lives of those he or she serves. In fact, many successful professionals can point to someone who invested time, energy, and support in guiding them through a pivotal period in their lives. A career mentor can help newcomers avoid the mistakes and ensure they do not miss out on any professional opportunities that come their way. In this article, we explore the benefits of having a career mentor and how to get the most out of the mentoring experience.
How Career Mentoring Can Create a Positive Working Atmosphere
A good mentor can have a positive ‘ripple’ effect not only on employee culture but on employer values as well. Below, we discuss four positive traits career mentoring can help foster:
1. Knowledge Sharing
Today’s business landscape is complex and changing, so the ability to navigate and manoeuvre it quickly is critical. A career mentor will provide you with valuable insight based on his or her personal experience. He or she can also share various tips to help you adapt well in a new environment and offer guidance at every step. Good mentors should already have several years of mentoring experience ahead of them from working in a wide array of fields. This will give mentees the peace of mind knowing that their mentors have a particular mentoring ‘tool kit’, regardless of the industry they’re originally from.
2. Source of Encouragement
Mentorship gives many mentees a voice when they are unable to fully find and harness it on their own. Perhaps most importantly, mentoring can have a butterfly effect on an entire company’s climate by diversifying the range of perspectives at the table. This is because a mentee who has received positive encouragement from his or her mentor will soon discover new angles from which to approach the work and can find the confidence to pitch these fresh ideas to others involved.
3. Professional Feedback
Contrary to popular belief, great mentoring skills include the ability to point out flaws and offer constructive criticism. However, this feedback should be offered in a healthy way so as not to impinge on employee-employer trust or appear insensitive in nature. An effective way of doing this is by framing advice in a positive feedback loop, whereby a career mentor starts by offering up words of encouragement to their mentee. These are the things they’re doing well, the unique attributes they bring to the table, positive personality traits, among others. The feedback can then transition to a tricky question posed to the mentee. By implementing this ‘positive feedback loop’ in their professional feedback strategies, career mentors can strengthen the mentee-mentor relationship, while ensuring employee morale remains high at the company level.
4. Expand Your Network
A good mentor is someone who is motivated and energised, cares about developing others, and is willing to commit his or her time to providing career guidance. In the process of accumulating this experience good mentors also gain a wealth of influential professional connections. It is important for a mentee to look for mentors with established career networks. By working with such people, mentees can tap on their career mentors’ professional circle for further guidance, or to upscale into better job opportunities in the future.
How to Get a Mentor
Prior to looking for the qualities of a good mentor, you are encouraged to do some goal setting. For instance, plan your objectives and establish clear expectations for how a mentor can assist you. If you’re not sure, define broad strokes and a directional path. Look across disciplines and functions and whether you want to find a mentor within your company or outside of it. Who are your role models? Who would you like to work for in the next five, ten, or fifteen years? Do you have a role model at work? As a mentee, you should feel safe and be able to participate in an open and honest conversation. Conduct your research, and ensure that it meets your requirements. Studies suggest, for example, that mentorship is ideal when both mentee and mentor have similar challenges, roles, experiences, skill sets or backgrounds.
Career Mentorship at PSB Academy
At PSB Academy we have a 6-month mentoring programme to provide a platform for our alumni and industry partners to share their experiences, insights, and advice to students in Singapore. With a wealth of working experience and passion to guide students as they transition into the working world, our mentors are professionals come from different industry sectors.
If you are wondering what’s your next step after graduating, or questions about the working world, the mentoring programme would be a great way for you to learn and leverage on mentor’s experiences.