Isn’t it funny how one thing could be so important to someone at the beginning of a career as well as at the end? In the beginning you are the mentee, looking for help to grow but later on, you become the mentor looking to help someone grow.
Everyone is a newbie at one point, – even the person in the corner office. Think about that. No matter how successful someone is, he or she was once a beginner and didn’t know nearly as much as he or she does now. However, some people do move quicker to that corner office than others. How do they do it? What do they have over people that propels them? Nine out of ten times, I’m willing to bet their answer is having a mentor.
A mentor is someone who takes you under their wing and not only steers you in the right direction, but teaches you on why it is the right way. A mentor is someone you can confide in and he or she will help you work through the problem. A mentor is a friend and like a friend – everyone needs one.
There’s a lot to learn at your job and your learning curve will be shortened if you don’t have to learn everything on your own. Whether it’s a simple weekly coffee meeting or a more in depth 1:1, the time you spend with your mentor is invaluable. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or for advice, but most importantly – listen. Listen to what your mentor is saying and be receptive. Be coachable. Your mentor wants to help you in any way possible – don’t ignore what you hear.
On the flip side, when you reach a certain point in your career and you become the mentor – teaching and grooming younger employees can become some of the most rewarding work you do. Whether you know it or not, you have tons of information to share. I personally don’t think there is enough grooming happening these days and it is a shame. There’s no better way to leave a legacy or a little part of you behind than preparing the next generation to succeed by taking what you know and applying it themselves. The employees who seek a mentor out, want to be better – they want to succeed. So help them. Teach them what you wish you knew when you were their age and they will be forever grateful.
Mentoring. No matter where you are in your career – at the starting line or near the finish – mentoring is a great thing.
“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill