According to Sky Blue Coaching, the benefits that come with having a mentor can only be translated into useful life skills if the mentee actually puts into use what they learn from their mentors. “The greatest benefits to be gained from any mentoring relationship come from how the mentee uses what their mentor can provide them,” writes the site which specializes in business, executive and life coaching tips.
All high achievers today attest to the presence of having a mentor in their life. So what really is the role of a mentor when you can get good grades, learn on the job and go on to become a full professional?
Here are seven key reasons why mentors are a necessity:
a) Benefit of learning from another person’s experiences in your line of career
This must be one of the greatest benefits that accrue to a mentee who has the chance to learn at the feet of an experienced individual in their aspired career line. In life, there are certain things that you cannot learn and understand until you experience them: having a mentor gives you the benefit of tapping from their priceless knowledge and experiences built over time.
b) You get exposed to different perspectives and possibilities in your career
As someone who has had a career mentor from the age of 17, I can confidently say that when Margaret Ogola opens one of her chapters in The Place of Destiny with a prelude that says that a mentor takes a formless mass of talent and points it to a certain life-changing direction; she knew exactly what she is talking about. You may have the talent and ability to be a filmmaker but a mentor will shape this ability into something that is more fruitful, commercially viable and that can survive in the long run.
c) You can gain from their networks and exposure
Because the mentor has been in your desired field for longer than you have, they have created more networks and working relationships with people which you stand to benefit from. You know that Kenyan saying that, “Kenya ni kujuana”? It sometimes comes through the connections you make through your mentor which is not necessarily a bad thing as often insinuated in the phrase.
d) Helps you develop a more critical approach to your career
Heather Huhman, a career expert writing on how to benefit from a mentoring relationship – argues that a mentor will help you look at projects and issues in a new way. They also will challenge you to think about your current job, job search, and career in general. This is very valid as it comes with the benefit of learning from someone who has been there before you and who has perfected his skills. You will learn to look more closely at the tasks you are given and stretch the limits of where you want to go.
e) A mentor will uphold you when you have doubts
It is common to have doubts from time to time in your career path and you are not sure whether to go left or right. If you have a mentor, then there is always someone you can call for practical and objective advice; someone who because of the position they hold in your life, you can sit up and pay attention to.
I have a persistent thirst to know things and that has pushed me to read a lot of books and ask questions including stopping strangers on the road to ask them questions about the inspiration behind their hairstyles… Apart from the madness, I am generally a very bubbly, reasonable and energetic person.