I am sure you have heard or read somewhere that everyone needs a mentor and/or coach to fast-track their journey for development. This is in relation to your business, career, personal development or any other aspect of life. I did not take particular interest in appreciating the concepts of coaching and mentoring until I joined Imprint (U) Ltd – a consulting firm that focuses on building capacity for individuals and organisations to realize their full potential. Since joining Imprint, I have read widely about coaching and mentoring and their importance. Imprint Courses like the Leadership and Management Development Programs will help you to appreciate the concepts better
It’s quite amazing when you understand the benefits you will get when you start to deliberately find a coach or mentor to help you on your journey for development. I will share a few out of the many benefits both from a personal experience and from the literature of experts in the field of personal and career development. My focus today is on mentoring while coaching will be discussed next time.
What is mentoring?
There are varying definitions of the mentoring concept, but every definition will agree on one thing despite the changeable vocabulary used; mentoring is about engaging in a mutual relationship between two individuals (mentor and mentee) to foster the growth and development for the mentee. One the individuals (usually the mentor) has greater skills, experiences, knowledge and wisdom which is shared with the other to fast-track their development. Mentoring is aimed at supporting and encouraging people to manage their own learning in order that they may maximize their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance and become the person they want to be. It is a helpful relationship based upon mutual trust and respect. One of the misconceptions about mentoring is that a mentor has to be older than the mentee. However the reverse can be true where a younger individual with a greater skills, wisdom and experience in a specific field is the mentor. A mentor can also be your peer. You need to understand that;
The benefits of having a mentor
But why should one bother to find a mentor when they trust that they can do it on their own? As earlier mentioned, there are several benefits of mentoring. On a high level, mentoring can help you realize your career and personal dreams faster that it would take on a lone journey. It can help you reach your destination sooner by scaling up your personal and professional growth. I explain below some of the specific benefits that anyone would get from a mentoring relationship and why everyone reading this should take a deliberate process to find and engage with a mentor.
A mentor offers you the inspiration you need to get going. A mentor helps you to ignite the desire and passion that you have within yourself to do something. A well selected mentor will be there for you no matter what just to help your realize your development goals. In times when you would have given up, a mentor will give you the encouragement that you need to move on. A mentor will have most likely been through the same situation and know how to go about it. From a mentor’s experience, he/she will give you that hope that you can make it which everyone needs to get going and work on their passion. If you therefore feel like giving up at times, it may be the right thing that you find a mentor who will give you the inspiration and courage that you will get there.
A mentor will help you to fast track your growth and development journey. Mentors have usually been there and have experienced the journey that you are hoping to undertake. A mentor can help you to move a journey that would have taken you 10 years in just a fraction of that. Having been through the journey, your mentor has most likely made mistakes and learnt from them. You therefore have a chance not make the same mistakes because he is aware of them and thus focus on what will fast track your growth. The idea here is to carefully engage with a mentor who has already undertaken the journey that you hope to undertake.
A mentor can provide the missing link to get you to the people you need. Having a mentor can be a great way of connecting to the people who have always wanted to meet. These can be industry leaders or possible employers that will offer you that most coveted position. Through offering their skills and expertise, mentors can introduce you to talent that can fuel your career or business and help you get closer to your target audience. Mentors through their experience and wisdom will identify the right network events for you as they link you with their colleagues, partners and friends from whom you can learn a great deal
A mentor will help you to identify your flaws. There are some weaknesses within us which we may never identify unless someone opens to us. These are in what is called our blind spot according to the Johari Window. To make matters worse, some people fear to tell us our weaknesses because they are not sure on how we will respond to them. This is where a mentor comes in handy. She/he will act like a mirror to you and help you realize those flaws that would otherwise prevent your growth and development. A mentoring relationship is built on trust and that’s why a good mentor will not find it difficult to let you know your weaknesses and help you find solutions on how to deal with them.
Mentoring is free and priceless at that. Normally, a mentoring relationship is driven by the satisfaction of helping another individual, paying it forward from a similar experience they had when starting their own journey. What most mentors will want is not money but to see you grow by capitalizing on their skills, experiences and wisdom. A mentor desires to have their mentee grow without experiencing the obstacles that they faced themselves when they started on this journey. So, why not find yourself a mentor to walk with you on this journey before stretching yourself.
A mentor has insight beyond your knowledge. Did I forget to mention this? A mentor will have more insights than the knowledge you have. He/she is in a better position to help you think beyond what you can imagine. A mentor’s advice can be the catalyst that changes the mentee’s journey to success forever. A mentors’ piece of advice will help you get to that “aha” moment that will help you move forward than many years of steady but lone hard work. When you respect the experience and wisdom of a mentor, you’re more likely to accept and value his or her insights–as well as apply them faster and more effectively with greater results.
There are many benefits that accrue from a mentoring relationship beyond what I just mentioned here. Most people that I seem to admire have always emphasized that mentors have helped them to be what they are. Similarly, the work at Imprint has also been a great opportunity to explore the concept of mentoring. Like it or not most successful professionals and business men have sought out a mentor and taken heed from their wisdom and experiences. What you need to do is to find a right mentor – one that has moved the journey that you wish to undertake. Learn from their knowledge and experiences and be willing to act on the advice that they give you and trust me – Your journey to personal, professional and entrepreneurial development will not be the same.
However, you need to remember that the mentoring relationship is mutual and that you will also have a role to play to benefit and achieve most from the mentoring relationship. As a person being mentored; you need to know your areas for development, be motivated to undertake the journey and learn from your mentor’s experiences. You also need to be willing to assume responsibility for your own growth and development as well as seek challenging assignments for the desired growth. A mentoring relationship will be beneficial if you have interest in developing new skills, have good communication skills and are receptive to any kind of feedback and advice from your mentor.
By Darious Nkwasibwe
Imprint (U) Ltd provides superior capacity building consulting services by a team of experienced operators with vast exposure. The organization draws its name from a leadership attribute associated with exemplary leaders who leave an imprint (distinctive mark of leadership) on people's lives.