Do You Need a Mentor?
A mentor is an experienced, subject matter expert who understands what it takes to succeed as a professional in a specific business or industry.
“One of the greatest values of mentors is the ability to see ahead what others cannot see and to help them navigate a course to their destination.” — John C. Maxwell
The relationship differs from a coaching one. A mentor does not work to help you improve performance. Instead, your mentor acts as a guide and an adviser who shares their knowledge and expertise to help you advance. For example, think about Obi Wan in Star Wars and Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back. They were Luke’s mentors, guiding him on the path of the Jedi. They answered Luke’s questions, offered advice, and served as role models.
The relationship can be either formal or informal and either time-bound or ongoing. Generally, you choose a mentor and ask if they would be willing to take on that role for you. You drive the relationship, based on what you need to know. Mentors usually are volunteers and are unpaid.
“Using the previous example, if I were to mentor that same client,” says Linda Hardenstein, MPA, PCC. “I would share my own management experiences and advice to guide the client and prepare them for a promotion to a higher level.”
In Part Three, we’ll talk about consultants.