So you want to have a mentor. You hear about these sometimes mythical sounding people and mentor/mentee relationships. Reading articles about the benefits of receiving mentorship as well as being a mentor yourself are inspiring, helpful and overall great information to absorb on your quest for the ultimate mentor/mentee match up.
The most crucial element is finding a great mentor for you, or being a great mentor for your mentee. They are very similar. Getting to work together with your mentor or mentee openly, fruitfully and diligently is the name of the game.
Mentorship is great although some may disagree. I have never believed having a mentor is bad but doing everything your mentor tells you without thinking for yourself. That’s bad any way you slice it.
Here are 7 Pros and 3 Cons to Mentorship…
- The Advice: Insight, Perspective and Vision
- The amount of information a mentor has to offer is immense. The mentor should be someone who is fit for the position, whether it is business or academic application or event specific. That will increase the value of the insight; having a great fit with your mentor. Gather up the insight, allow them to assist in building your vision and gain perspective from a 3rd party view who is there to bring more value to the market and to your life by influencing you as their mentee.
Takeaway: The match up of the mentor to the mentee and value that is delivered can guide the mentee into the exact direction for maximal life attainment.
- Past Experiences and Pitfall Avoidance
- Mentors will share their experiences and their downfalls with you. Absorb these and ask about them. A great mentor will give you these willingly and they will want to guide you away from the mistakes that they may have fallen victim to in their career and life. Pull this from the mentor. Absorb it as the mentee. And the value here is immense!
Takeaway: Learn from the past mistakes of people who are where you want to be.
- Improved Performance and Talent Identification/Development
- Mentorship will always enhance performance. A great mentor will help to identify the talents of the mentee at the same time as improving their performance. Developing those talents, skills and strength
Takeaway: Accelerate with the help of the mentor; listen, learn and focus on development of natural and learned talents.
- Network Access and Recommendations
- By virtue of the relationship the mentee has a form of access to the mentor’s network. The incredible part of the network connection is that it is exactly that, a direct connection with someone with another person’s best interest in mind as well as intimate knowledge about the recommended person’s strengths, attributes and best qualities. Access like this along with a recommendation for placement from a trusted source and confidant like a mentor carries the mentee to more success in life, faster and more effectively than most anything else.
Takeaway: Make use of the mentor’s connections and placement capabilities with the network leverage that a mentor/mentee relationship brings.
- Passing on of Enhanced Abilities, Skills, Specialized Knowledge
- Learning from the mentor, being imparted with their skills, their specialties and wisdom is where success through mentorship is birthed. This is especially true in industry/business specific or academically focused mentorship. Someone who is where the mentee wishes to be in life, is the best person to learn from. And the mentee must learn those skills important to that success in life, not any skills, but the specialized knowledge and attributes that will aid maximally in their success. The mentor should pass on these and these alone, leaving out what is excess or unimportant. Laser focus on sharing as much of exactly what is needed for success is a true key to that success.
Takeaway: Mentors will impart the most important lessons, and their decision on what to share and how focused it is will greatly impact a strong mentee for life. Receive as the mentee all that a great mentor can impart; process, learn and apply.
- Understanding of Time Value
- Time is of the essence and especially for young people time can be undervalued. The urgency of completion, forward motion and momentum building is reinforced with a strong mentor who is there for the true development of the mentee. The mentor will usually be a senior person in age, and can reinforce the need for action and assertive/aggressiveness in taking that action in business, life, relationships and future planning or whatever else. Being instilled with the idea that time is waiting for no man is extremely valuable for a mentee, and a mentor can always be reminded that is never too late for another hoorah.
Takeaway: Mentor and Mentee both learn here that time is valuable and therefore the they spend in mentorship as well as the time implementing the mentorship lessons is extremely valuable, as is all time in life.
- Lasting Impact
- Mentorship is not a one and done thing. Mentor/Mentee relationships can last years, decades, hopefully a lifetime with the right mentor and the growth of the relationship. Start with that longevity in mind and look to glean maximal information from both sides of the interaction. Allow it to grow and develop and bring huge value for those involved and those who are impacted by the benefits of the mentorship.
Takeaway: Think long term when getting a mentor and choose someone you’d like to be involved with for the rest of your/their life if possible.
- Mismatching Mentor to Mentee
- Choosing the right mentor and getting the right feel and vibe will make or break the mentor/mentee relationship. If there is ill will, disrespect, railroading or manipulating from either side or a “yes yes yes” type of feel from the mentee, things will surely go poorly. Be sure to select vet and set proper expectations on both sides of the relationship.
Takeaway: If there is a mismatch, identify and deal with it as the mentor or mentee. This is supposed to be mutually beneficial, and make sure to accomplish mutual benefit honestly.
- Disagreement and Frustration
- The mentor can steer. The mentee can ignore. In a negative turn of events the mentee can feel like they are being instructed or told what to do and that’s it while the mentor may feel unheard or that their time is wasted and unappreciated. Impasses may be hit and the way the two deal with these as adult professionals will dictate the fruitfulness of the mentorship both in the moment and for long-term impact.
Takeaway: Be sure to set proper expectations and be willing to both listen and appreciate from both sides of the relationship.
- Dependence on Outside Support/Approval
- Does the mentor mentee relationship create a dependence on the security, wisdom and input of the mentor? This can be argued for and against. On one hand, having someone who has experience in your field, connections, and wisdom to teach, can be amazingly valuable. When being mentored constantly, what happens when the mentorship turns into the deciding factor on decisions? Perhaps all decisions and possibilities and happenings have to be run by or through the mentor? At what point does this become the mentor just steering the life of another? Or when does it become the mentee’s responsibility and the mentor’s duty to call out this unproductive dependence or end the relationship all together? That is for the individuals to decide while being understanding and pragmatic.
Takeaway: Never depend on someone to make your decisions for you, mentor or not.