Most people understand that a mentor can help them, but they don’t necessarily know by just how much. Mentors can have a dramatically positive impact on a person’s career, with studies showing that professionals who have used a mentor earn between $5,610-$22,450 more annually than those who don’t, and that 75% of executives say mentoring has played a key role in their careers.
So why does having a mentor make such a difference? In what ways does it improve your career?
A career coach
One of the most important parts a mentor plays in your life is that of a career coach. Anyone who attempts to make progress at any activity usually has some type of coach or teacher: students, athletes, and apprentices – and yet many of us go through our careers with little to no help, and no semblance of a coach. A coach provides you with feedback, suggestions, and objective oversight from which you can glean great learnings. A coach or mentor in this case, can use their own experience and wisdom to guide you in a way that you couldn’t guide yourself.
A voice of encouragement
Equally important, a mentor provides a mentee with frequent and relevant encouragement. We all have a lot of self-doubt; it is human nature, and there isn’t an individual on the planet who can not benefit from some good old fashioned encouragement. Having doubts about starting that company? Or writing that book? A mentor is the type of person who you bounce these ideas off and get a push in the right direction.
More efficient time management and more efficient growth
Doing a lot of stuff isn’t necessarily the most efficient way to make progress. Being strategic and purposeful about your personal and professional growth is the key to making quick and sizeable strides. A mentor not only provides you with a sounding board and good advice, but also allows you to look internally, and look more closely at your personal goals and aspirations. This means you can be more efficient and purposeful in setting about creating a more coherent journey to your destination. While a mentor is an external motivator – they often force an individual to have a deeper and more focused internal locus of control.
As much as we all like to think of ourselves as being incredibly driven and motivated people, unfortunately we aren’t. All people can benefit from being held accountable for the things they say they will do. A mentor keeps you on your toes, and in a positive way – forces you to consciously think about the actions you are taking and the progress you have made.
While a mentor isn’t the only way to spur career growth, it is one of the most universally beneficial ways to tap into elements of personal growth that apply to every individual. If you can’t benefit from a coach, a voice of encouragement, more efficient time management, and being held accountable – then you are not human, and you are on your way to success anyway.
If you’re interested in finding a mentor but are afraid to ask, don’t be. There is a tonne of value in a mentor-mentee relationship for the mentor – and they’re likely just as eager as you.