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Five advantages of having a mentor

Lydia Denham
27/03/17
Having a mentor can help you to further your career and develop as an employee. While finding a mentor is by no means necessary to succeed, it does boast a number of benefits. Here, we take a look at five of the most important.

Extend your professional network

One of the biggest advantages to working with a mentor is that you immediately open up your professional network to include many of the contacts they have already developed. Networking takes time and effort and it can be a great help if you are able to call on your mentor’s existing contacts when necessary. 

Greater organisational insight

Though you may be a talented IT professional, succeeding doesn’t always come down to being the most capable or knowledgeable. Unfortunately, every business has its own internal politics to overcome and employees need to be aware of the ins and outs of this politics if they are to reach the top. 

Mentors have the benefit of time and will have seen numerous careers rise and fall over the course of their careers This gives them a unique insight into the internal structures of an organisation and into the factors that can determine whether career decisions are well thought-out.

Improving self-confidence

A good mentor will ensure that support and assistance is available any time you feel isolated or cut off from other sources of encouragement and advice. The mentor system encourages professionals to build strong relationships with those that have experience of what they’re going through and who understand what working in the industry involves.

Having this line of contact can boost self-confidence, as an individual has a source of information that they can fall back on if they are ever unsure on something.

Feedback

By developing a trusting relationship with a mentor, you open up a new feedback channel in which you can receive comments and advice concerning your recent performance and with whom you can bounce ideas back and forth. 

Mentors can operate like soundboards, giving you an opportunity to speak your mind and talk about ideas that aren’t ready to be discussed in a more formal setting. This relationship isn’t all one way either. An intelligent mentor will often use their mentee as a way of gaining a fresh perspective on events by ensuring they’re keeping up with the latest industry developments.

Professional development

Finally, it’s usually a lot easier to see the bigger picture if you take a step back and put the whole thing in perspective. This is very difficult to do when you’re trying to examine yourself, your own performance or where your strengths and weaknesses lay. A mentor is one step removed and able to appraise your performance more impartially, giving you better advice as to where you need to improve, what your skill set is missing, and where your career is heading if you maintain the same trajectory. This advice can be incredibly useful, so you should look to take it into consideration and make the necessary changes to your routine where possible.

Developing a relationship with a mentor takes time but can be incredibly rewarding. More experienced employees are able to use their years in the industry and their accumulated knowledge to help reach your potential and are often more than willing to help out an enthusiastic and hard-working mentee, particularly if you’re willing to listen. While it’s important to find the right person, they can be invaluable to your career development in the long run.  
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