Luke Skywalker had Obi-Wan Kenobi. Agent J had Agent K. Peter Parker had Uncle Ben. It is no coincidence that so many great heroes in fiction have had a mentor to show the way. Whether your company has a formal mentoring scheme or you have to seek one out yourself, you too could benefit from a mentor, says an article from Way 2 PM, and here are five reasons why:
- They are independent.
- They know people you don’t.
- They can help you explore career opportunities.
- They are a sounding board for problems.
- A mentor can help you learn new things.
Mentors are frequently people who are wholly unrelated to your department, and so they can provide unbiased insight into your situation. When workplace politics boil, it can be useful to have a mentor to help you see the forest for the trees. Mentors, typically being in a more senior position than you, also have contact with many other high level people you have never met. They can provide insider information should you be going to meet any of these people for the first time, as well as get you in touch with the right experts when a difficult problem presents itself. Following that line of thought, mentors can help elevate you to a more senior position as well. Since most mentorships come with an agreement of confidentiality, you can discuss career options safely with a mentor, and in addition: As your mentor is likely to work in a different area to you they are also more likely to hear of other career opportunities. Ask them to keep an eye out for any jobs that are being advertised in their area, or any managers who are looking to replace people who are leaving or expand their teams. Many of the good jobs don’t get advertised, so having someone on the inside who can let you know of opportunities as they arise can mean you get an early chance at what could turn out to be a fabulous job. Another great thing you can discuss with mentors is all the stuff that ticks you off and stresses you out. Often, nobody wants to hear your problems, but mentors are there exactly to do that. Even better, they can help you with solutions. Mentors can articulate the big ideas for you, but they can also help you with the small, practical functions too. That is the beauty of a mentorship, learning and absorbing new ideas in a relaxed environment. And when the time comes that you are pushed out on your own to face the empires and goblins of the project management world, you will be ready, whether or not you realize it.