You have found a mentor and you have successfully built a mentoring relationship with them. You meet with them on a regular basis to discuss professional development options, receive feedback, and get advice on making important work-related decisions.
But are you sure that you are utilizing your mentoring relationship to its full capacity? Have you wondered how to use it to your advantage in the long run? Have you wondered how your mentor can help you establish the rapport that you are looking for in your industry? Have you wondered about the connections your mentor might have that can be beneficial for you and your career progress?
Related: How to Find the Right Mentor to Boost Your Career
These are just some of the questions that you should ask yourself and think about if you want to maximize the benefits of having a mentor.
To give you an idea of the possibilities and opportunities that open up for you, here's a list of benefits available to you if you have an influential mentor to work with.
Promotion of Your Skills and Expertise You have been working hard at your job and have given your time and energy to it on a daily basis. You even became an expert in your field and have a specialized role in your department. You might be having conversations with your manager on the next step in your career. However, if your manager and mentor are not the same people, make sure that your mentor is aware of your progress and share your future goals with them. Talk about the ways you can promote your skills and if they would be able to highlight your expertise in their circles. Word of mouth is still very powerful, more so because nowadays everyone has access to the internet to promote and falsify information. Once your mentor is aware of your aspirations and expectations, he will be able to assist you in spreading the word about your exceptional skills.
Access to Amazing Opportunities As the word about your abilities and your work spreads, more and more opportunities come knocking at your door. That's the power of an effective mentoring relationship. Now that your mentor knows about your career progress, they will be able to recommend you for various business opportunities. You might be asked to create a presentation for an important business meeting, participate in a leaders' conference, become the point of contact for an important project. The possibilities are endless and once you are in, it will be your job to make sure you make the most of this chance and prove how committed you are to your work.
Access to an Excellent Network of Industry Leaders With an influential mentor, comes a network of influential leaders. One thing to note is that when your mentor recommends you to someone they know, make sure you showcase your best self and your best work to them. The reason for this is, your mentor will continue to promote you and your work only when they are sure that you are going to take it seriously. As a mentor, they are betting on you and you are, in turn, responsible for keeping your mentor's reputation intact. If you embarrass them, chances are you won't be able to get back in their good books for a long time. You would have to prove yourself all over again. Be sure to make it count when they introduce you to someone. Seeing the results, they might even introduce you to many more people who can impact your career in positive ways. Like I said, word of mouth is still powerful.
Chances to Increase Your Credibility You've proven yourself to your mentor with your skills, with your professionalism, and with your intelligence. That establishes your credibility and allows your mentor to trust you with their most important work. That credibility, you worked so hard to build, is going to reach all the people your mentor is connected to. They might be having positive conversations about you even when you are not there, this is when you know that you have built that trust and credibility. The more people you connect and work with through your mentor, the more chances you have to increase that credibility.
Chances of Establishing a Brand for Yourself Have you heard about the PIE? It's an abbreviation for Performance, Image, and Exposure. - Performance speaks about the work you do and the results you deliver - Image tells about how people perceive you and what they think of you - Exposure highlights who knows about you and the work you do If you have successfully established your PIE, with all the steps mentioned above, you are on your way to making it your brand. It is of utmost importance to showcase yourself as a brand if you want to make big in today's world. Your performance, image, and exposure will assist you in creating your brand. When people are stuck with a problem, your name should be the one to pop-up in their heads to seek the solution. They should know who you are, what you do, and how good you are at it. That will be your brand.
Career Growth and Professional Development I've seen it happen a number of times, after years of working with a mentor there comes a time when they want you to be their successor. Whether they run a huge company, a small business, or are at an authoritative position in a corporation. They have seen you grow and establish your brand, it becomes natural for them to be part of your continued success. Even if we talk about other opportunities, they are more than happy to assist you with recommendations and all the help you might need in securing your desired position or career goal. Something that you would not have dreamed of achieving alone becomes possible with the help of a mentor.
Personal Development We talked about professional development at length but personal development is an essential component tied with having a mentor to guide you. While you navigate through the challenges within your career, there are a number of experiences you witness, some of them might even be first-hand instances. Having a mentor to keep you grounded and sane through it all, is a blessing. How to deal with people, how you could've handled a particular situation better, how to communicate your thoughts the right way, how to make your actions count, what to regret, and what not to regret, both in professional and personal life, your mentor guides you through it all. They help you become not only an excellent professional but also a good human being. That is the sign of a true mentoring relationship.
It takes great determination, effort, and years of commitment and consistency to reach this point but it's worth every bit of that effort. And once you reach that point, make sure to impart the same knowledge and wisdom to a mentee of your own.
- The Other Working Woman
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