Having a mentor provides the perspective and encouragement to achieve your career goals, but how do you choose the right mentor for you? Jemma Taylor-Smith of Nottingham marketing consultancy V Formation shares some of the key traits and attributes to consider when choosing a mentor.
Anyone who wants to be successful in their career needs help and guidance along the way. We can all benefit from the insight and wisdom of others further along in their careers, which is why having a mentor is essential for providing perspective and encouragement as you develop and work towards your career goals.
A good mentor will act as a sounding board to give you confidence and perspective; provide guidance on career development, and share their experience and knowledge to help you navigate hurdles and avoid any potential pitfalls.
Great mentoring can have a huge impact on your career and your life, so it’s important that you choose wisely. When choosing a mentor there are some key factors that should be taken into consideration in order to ensure your select a mentor who is right for you. These skills and attributes include:
It’s clearly important that your mentor has more experience than you – ideally within your profession. This will ensure you can learn from their experiences and that they are able relate to and provide advice on any challenges you might be experiencing.
You need to have mutual respect with your mentor. You need to respect them, if you are going to take their advice seriously; and they also need to respect your views and opinions and not be dismissive.
3. Empathetic and caring
You need your mentor to be able to empathise with your situation and care about what is happening within your world, so that their suggestions are genuine and concerned with your best interests.
4. Open and honest
As well as being empathetic and caring, a good mentor will be prepared to provide constructive challenge to help you expand your thinking. To do that effectively they must be willing to be honest with you. As mentoring is a two-way relationship, it’s also important that you feel able to be open and honest with them too.
Your mentor must be committed to your development and helping you to achieve your career goals. They should never make you feel rushed or that they aren’t really interested in what you have to say.