Well, we have reached day 10 of our career success planning journey together…so what else could I have up my sleeves for you? Let’s jump right in…on the 10th day of the holidays, my executive career coach said to me:
Identify and get a good mentor
It is good to have a pool of trusted individuals and advisors you can turn to when making critical career decisions, but who do you call on when you need to have a good heart-to-heart, transparent, eye-opening talk? Turning to close friends and family with career dilemmas is easy, but not effective.
Every professional and executive should have a mentor. A mentor is ideally someone who is a supportive ally, who can offer you exposure to major assignments, help position you for promotions and serve as your personal cheerleader as your advance in your career.
Still not sure you need a mentor?
Here are seven benefits you get with a mentor:
- Direct introduction or referrals to top players in your organization especially if you work in a very large, multi-layered organization.
- Personal guidance on building strong relationships and getting access to key individuals who can help you excel in your career.
- Access to the inside scoop on corporate culture and tips for navigating company politics or learning to “play the game.”
- Recommendations for high-profile projects and company initiatives and even strong support for new internal job opportunities.
- Advice on your business strategy, your personal communication skills and honest feedback on your professional reputation.
- Information on what is going on at the top of the company and long-term issues that would impact
So, what makes an ideal mentor?
It really depends on where you are in your career and what your immediate career goals, however, three key things to look for are:
- someone who is very successful in his/her career, a respected leader, an excellent communicator and who genuinely encourages and supports others in the same profession or field.
- someone who is direct, honest and can give valuable, constructive criticism and advice.
- someone who is connected, active in volunteer/community activities and politically astute.