The Value Of A Mentor

01/12/15

All of the famous heroes have a mentor: Luke Skywalker and Yoda, Harry Potter and Dumbledore, and Batman and Alfred.

When embarking upon your professional career, a mentor has just as much value, if not more!

What is a mentor?

Although only recently becoming a popular term, mentors have been present in history since the 8th century BC. Originally from Homer’s epic The Odyssey, a mentor is an experienced individual who guides and encourages one less experienced. In the work place, it may be your manager or someone who has been working within your field for several years.  Having a mentor is an ongoing professional relationship that involves trust, respect and engagement from both parties.

What is the value of a mentor?

  • A mentor can provide external and constructive feedback to assist your development, which is particularly important early in your career.
  • They can identify your strengths and weaknesses, and promote opportunities for you to achieve and develop in these areas.
  • They give valuable insight into best business practices, workplace communication, company culture and protocol – the list goes on!
  • Unsure of a task? A mentor will not provide an answer, but the tools and guidance for you to achieve the answer yourself.
  • Is the idea of networking intimidating? A mentor is able to assist you with beginning your professional network. This can be through internal company contacts or external networking events.
  • The time will come when you have an idea to propose to your manager or superior. A mentor will be able to help you prepare for this by being an idea sounding board.

How do you find a mentor?

As a Professional Year or Internship Training Program student with Performance Education Group, you will be assigned to a Host Company Mentor for your 12 week Work Integrated Learning placement. This is a qualified individual who is dedicated to providing you with the support, feedback and training you need as you take your first steps at the workplace. You might also encounter staff at your Host Company who are eager to mentor you as well.

But what about beyond your WIL Placement?

It is important to note that you should not ask just anyone to be a mentor. As mentioned before, the relationship between a mentor and mentee is quite special and requires commitment from both parties.

Start small, and take some time to get to know different people. Also begin considering and clarifying what you are looking for in a mentor. Who inspires you or encourages you?

Next, ask them if you can discuss some work questions over coffee. From here, you will be able to discuss how you are interested in receiving some mentoring in regards to your role and the mentor relationship can develop.

What happens next?

Make sure you keep in touch with your mentor, and that you utilise everything they have to offer. It is important that you let them know you appreciate all their support and advice, but most of all, remember that your success is also your mentor’s success, so strive to achieve your goals!

Your mentor is here to help and guide you through your WIL Program. They value your work and enthusiasm and in return keep up to date with them and use all the skills and contacts they have on offer. 
 

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