A good friend of mine contacted me the other day to let me know that he had been promoted to a senior management position in his company. Of course I was happy for him. After all, I hired him into the company, and was his boss for many years. I enjoyed working with him and it is easy to understand why he has succeeded in his goals so far. He is good with people, has sound judgment, is energetic, a quick learner and is considered by his peers and bosses to be a subject matter expert.
Not only was I happy for him, but a bit proud of myself if I am honest. His success validated not only my judgment, but also the advice I have given him since I left the company in pursuit of other opportunities. And one of the most valuable pieces of advice I gave him was to develop a network of mentors who could help him navigate through the treacherous waters of corporate advancement.
A good mentor is a valuable resource, regardless of your position or title. Whether you are a high school student, in the military, or the CEO of a global corporation, finding suitable mentors can serve as a source of information and inspiration that can help you improve your career and personal life.
Good mentors are coaches and confidants. They always challenge you, and teach you to challenge yourself, to do your best. They inspire confidence and can serve as valuable networking resources that may help you recognize opportunities you had not considered. They are dedicated to helping you learn how to succeed, and giving you the extra kick in the pants or reality check when you need it. They listen to your challenges in confidence, and assist you in exploring new possibilities and courses of action. Mentors do not solve or find new opportunities for you. The best mentors cultivate self awareness, insights, and problem solving skills that you use to better yourself.
Finding good mentors can be daunting, particularly to those who are new to being mentored. However, overcoming the anxiety of approaching a perspective mentor and cultivating a good mentoring relationship is well worth the effort.
Be sure and come back next week for the next installment in the series: What to Look for in a Mentor