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Why Good Mentors are Essential to Career Growth

Small in size but big in wisdom, Star Wars’ Yoda is perhaps one of the best fictional mentors ever. The wisdom of this wrinkled, odd-looking Master Jedi is legendary. He talks about discipline, sacrifice, fear, failures, and believing in oneself. He is generous and encourages every Jedi to “always pass on what you have learned.” Everyone has their Yoda, or at least aspire for their own Master, especially in the workplace. The workplace is an insanely competitive world and sometimes a BFF or just immense self-confidence won’t cut it. You need perspective. You need fresh insights. You need to see things differently. This is why a lot of companies invest on mentoring programs. Companies know all too well that people are their greatest asset and employees have to feel good about what they do if they were to do it well.

good mentorship
Photo from Get Everwise, Flickr, Creative Commons

Mentoring programs help increase productivity, employee satisfaction, and engagement. A study by the Center for Creative Leadership showed that mentorships do help with 77% of companies reporting an improvement in employee retention. But for students or employees and even leaders or mentors, mentorship is more than just about productivity and employee retention. It is about developing and perfecting skills necessary for career advancement. It is about making people better. On the onset, the main reason why you should have a mentor is for career growth. A mentor should be able to help you achieve your career goals, lead you on the right track, and help you find direction. But good mentorship can do so much more, in and out of the workplace. 

Wisdom of experience

learning from mentors
Photo from Ken Teegarding, Flickr, Creative Commons

Talking to good mentors is quite an experience. They are not perfect, they are not unscathed, and they certainly do not know everything. But the one thing that makes them special is their positive outlook in life despite everything they’ve been through. As the saying goes, “a mentor’s hindsight can become your foresight.” A mentor shares his experiences, good or bad, so that you can learn and be prepared. This is why having a mentor is helpful – they show you how to be resilient, how to spot opportunities in the wave of difficulties, and how to rise above adversities. They use their own experiences and share inspiring stories of others to prove to you that it can be done.

All about skills, talent, and performance
Careers are not built overnight nor are they solitary pursuits. You need people to help you be better at what you do. Good mentors are generous like that; they share what they know and they build on what you know. Companies like IBEX Global Philippines nurture the skills and talents of its employees through continuous learning, mentorships, and career advancement programs. The objective is to unlock endless possibilities. The objective is to make employees realize that there is so much more in them.
Mentoring is essentially about knowledge transfer. Mentors share their expertise and make you realize your own. They point out what you can do well, build on your skills, and develop even the talent you didn’t know you had in you. But they are also realistic and value good performance, setting goals and priorities, and getting the job done.

Identifying weak zones

recognize your weakness
Photo from Rennett Stowe, Flickr, Creative Commons

Recognizing weaknesses is where most employees and the rest of humanity fail. Maybe it’s ego or arrogance that some employees refuse to acknowledge their weak spots and refuse to do something about them. Sometimes employees are blinded by their own shortcomings. What mentors do is to hold up a mirror so you could see clearly, like an outsider looking in. Face it: you don’t know everything about everything.

Mentors can help your career by providing a fresh perspective and giving helpful feedback. They are truthful and they are sincere. Some mentors also ask for your permission before they give advice and feedback because they respect you, they let you take your time, and they wait until you are ready. Mentors identify weak zones but in a way that doesn’t make you feel bad about yourself. The important thing is they help you turn things around. Mentors inspire you to be better than who you used to be in your own pace and in your own terms.

Strike a balance between life and work

mentorship and career development
Photo from Andrew Russeth, Flickr, Creative Commons

Stop complaining and grumbling about your work on social media. A mentor is a better sounding board than Facebook. Mentors listen and understand. They allow you to explore your situation and make you come to terms with your own thoughts. A good mentorship goes beyond career growth but also fosters personal development.
Employees desire to be a force at work but they also have families, they also got a life to live. Mentors will not allow you to make a choice between two things that matter, what they do is help you strike a balance and be fulfilled on both fronts. Mentors are not going to interfere with your personal lives but with the competencies and life skills they have shared with you along the way, you will be more equipped and ready to face challenges and hopefully make every aspect of your life work the way you want it to.

Pass the bucket
Mentors are not only successful individuals but they also foster success in others. They are generous. They make sharing look really good. After all, their success as mentors depends highly on the success of their mentees. Good mentors show the value in passing the bucket and paying it forward. Mentorship is about generosity. Ultimately, it inspires employees to share the responsibility and make them feel good about sharing what they know to others, too. It’s like sending the elevator back down when it has already brought you up.
Good mentorship is built on a common goal, shared values, and trust. Mentors help employees find career direction and inspire employees to keep growing. This is what makes mentorship essential to career growth — it strives to make employees a better version of themselves.

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