Mentors play an important role in the development of skills, experience and networks. A mentor may help us navigate unchartered territory in our jobs, provide opportunities to make connections we otherwise wouldn’t have had, and inspire us to realise our own potential.
We’ve collected the experiences of our own staff and other LinkedIn users, asking them about their most influential career mentors.
The responses demonstrate a variety of experience, which share three key elements. Mentors that make a real and lasting impact are honest, have confidence in their mentees and share their own experiences.A great mentor can help you determine, and achieve, your career goals.
“Nick allowed me to do my thing while providing the structure to keep me focussed. As long as you had a plan for the short, medium and long term, he was happy. It was your decision what path you followed and he would give you every support you needed to be successful. I never actually heard him raise his voice. There was no need. He created an environment where you wanted to do your best.” – Ted Jenkins
Choosing a mentor doesn’t have to be a difficult process, it can often happen without any formal planning.
Consider what your career goals are, then strike up a conversation with someone you know with experience in those areas.
“Like the occasional teacher we have at school whom we never forget, my mentor remains a key person in my career journey and in my learning and becoming a more mature, self-aware and confident person.” – Lynne Lloyd
Having career goals is important for maintaining job satisfaction – without them, you lose sight of why you work. Reaffirm why you chose your career path, then decide where you want to take it and what you need to do to get there.
“Rod helped me realise the relevance of knowing my strengths and weaknesses and using them to get where I need to be.” – Jack Gibson
Your mentor can connect you to their network, giving you access to people with the expertise you need. A good mentor will understand your work process, providing an outsider perspective to aid in problem-solving.
Reflect on your own mentor experience; let them know how much they helped in reaching your career goals.