People often ask me what the value of mentorship is. It is indeed a very difficult question to answer since it varies in different circumstances and indeed hardly measurable. However, we can undeniably say that mentorship is value-added to one’s experience and success in academics and career development.
From a personal perspective, when I think back to write this blog post, I can’t help but ask the same question to myself “what do I think the value of mentorship is?” Like many others, I struggle to give a concrete answer, but I would be able to describe that more thoroughly using my experience.
Assembling your mentorship board
Throughout my college study and career, I’ve built my own mentorship board. Whether it’s for knowledge advancement or in my work or outside of my career aspirations, I have created a small group of go-to mentors that help me move forward. Sometimes, the interaction is as simple as bouncing my ideas back-and-forth with these mentors so that I can see a more holistic picture of what I may not have comprehended before. Other times, it’s getting encouragement and advice on how to proceed with the next step. This is the value of having a mentor: a good mentor can help you be your best self and be on the right course.
What type of mentors should you look for? And how do you utilize mentors to help you? Here are five qualities you should look for in mentors.
#1: They challenge you
A good mentor breaks you out of your comfort zone. There will always be people around to comfort you, but a good mentor is one that encourages you to keep improving and pushes you into new experiences.
#2: Gather their feedback
You are often asked the type of question “What is your greatest weakness?” during an interview. In fact, a good mentor knows your personal strengths and weaknesses well and gives you an impartial objective point of view. Try to improve upon your weaknesses by finding a mentor who will complement them.
#3: Ask them specific questions
Know how to utilize your mentor. Ask them simple and specific questions that you are most interested to start the conversations. This helps mentor to know about your aspirations and help plan to take you where you want to be or what you want to achieve in the foreseeable future.
#4: Expand your network
If your relationship with your mentor doesn’t align with your goals, try to take the leap of faith by asking your mentor if there is anyone else you should connect with or network within a certain field.
#5: Be geographic agnostic
Don’t get constrained by the location, industry, or time. In today’s digital world, you could foster a mentorship via social networking platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Skype, etc.
Cover Photo Courtesy of Unsplash's Chris Lawton