What is a mentor?

Finding a mentor is something that will be absolutely invaluable as you start your career journey. It is incredibly important to know what to look for in a mentor. Any person can try to be a mentor, but the best mentors have several characteristics that sets them apart from someone who just hands out advice.

A good mentor should be able to provide you with the tools, guidance, support, feedback and the answers you need in order to build a successful career. As you know by now, every person is an individual and has their individual set of values, characteristics, strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, someone who might be an excellent mentor for your friend, might not be a good choice of mentor for you. Due to the importance mentors can have, not only on your career choice or career journey but also on your career success, it is important to be aware of what your individual developmental needs are and what you want out of a career.

A mentor can be almost anyone. The important part is that they are adequately suited to your career development needs. Mentors can be parents, teachers, friends, colleagues, coaches, consultants, even your boss can be a mentor. Your mentor should serve as a counsellor and reliable resource. They should have your best interest at heart and sincerely wish you well. They should view you objectively and communicate with you honestly and constructively. A mentor can give you insights that you might have been missing or they can offer a different perspective, they can serve as an educational resource and teach you something new, they can show you beneficial relationships and connections that you might not have recognised or thought of.

Now that you know more about what a mentor is, you will be better equipped to select someone who will serve as a good mentor for you and your individual talents, characteristics and career development needs. This is a very beneficial part of your career journey.