Help You Didn’t Know You Needed
My mentor became a mentor to me without my realizing it. A senior vice president in the first firm I worked for enabled me to focus on best practices in various ways. I realized what a mentor she was after listening to, watching and using the real life knowledge she possessed in human resources.
Here are some of the ways a mentor can help you:
Silent Knowledge – This is one area where mentors are invaluable. I like to use the words “silent knowledge" because by just watching someone who has been there/done that before you will help you better understand the work environment around you and what’s expected and accepted. Mentors silently offer solutions through example; so keep your eyes and ears open and use any guidance offered.
Free Knowledge – Everything I learned in college cost mega bucks but mentors are free. The knowledge they possess and offer to you costs you nothing and if you utilize that experience, you’re gaining insights with no tuition expense.
Solutions – A new job or a new position often brings uncertainty. Mentors offer solutions to problems and questions you have along your career path. A quick e-mail or phone call often provides the answers you need or, at the very least, guides you in the right direction. A mentor also helps point out areas where he sees you are failing with tips on how to improve.
Career Help – If you find yourself in an entry-level position with hopes of climbing the ladder, a mentor can help you reach the career level you want. She can also help determine the right career path, what’s best for you and point out your strengths and weaknesses—something you may not see on your own. Mentors can offer suggestions on continuing education and steer you in unexplored adventures throughout your career.
Lifetime Guidance – Even if you leave the company or position where you found that first mentor, that individual can still offer you a lifetime of guidance in almost any area. Because most mentors have seen and done a lot in their careers, and have a special interest in you succeeding, they want to offer and do offer the best advice and guidance throughout your career.
Guesswork – A good mentor takes the guesswork out of problem areas where you need help. His openness to help you makes it much easier to ask him for help rather than finding answers on your own or asking the wrong person.