How a mentor can boost your career

As you progress through your career seeing the bigger picture and working through issues with a mentor or coach can be instrumental to success – but it’s important to find the right fit.

When hiring a mentor or a coach it’s important to remember that they are not there to tell you what to do; rather he or she is there to ask relevant questions for you to consider and to help you gain perspective as you move forward in your career.

A mentor is instrumental in acting as a sounding board. Having one gives you the opportunity to put your thinking into words while drawing on other people’s experience and knowledge. It also helps you realize that you are not alone – many situations are universal, no matter how unique they may feel to you.

Ideally, your mentor is someone who is both interested in your situation and who has the time to speak with you on a regular basis. Most importantly, a mentor has to be someone you can trust.

Bringing experience from their own career, and with clients, employees, and partners is what makes a mentor or coach invaluable to you as you grow your career.  This experience allows them to ask the right questions and give important feedback based on their knowledge and experience. Those questions and that feedback may be challenging, but in order to develop one must face the tough questions and decisions, while considering feedback that can be difficult to consider. A mentor will help you understand why it’s important to do this.

I’ve never had a real mentor other than my husband, something I regret, as an external mentor is vital in seeing things from a fresh perspective. I met my husband under professional circumstances so our ‘mentorship’ began naturally, by talking business.  We’ve been doing it ever since and he’s been an invaluable sounding board, but I think because personal aspects came into our relationship rather early it was difficult to separate the two areas.  Having someone who can help you regard things from a distance is key.

Acting as a mentor and coach is the culmination of my career. I’ve held many different positions over a long period of time, both in the private and public sector, as well as an entrepreneur, a business angel, and with NGOs. This wide array of experience gives me a unique perspective when acting as a coach and mentor, particularly because it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for me: I have had many successes throughout my career but I’ve also had failures, and you learn a great deal from both.

Most of us need someone to talk to and I’ve learned that being a good listener is an important starting point as a mentor and coach. Often we already know the answers to our questions but this only becomes clear when talking it through with someone whom you respect and who has the experience and knowledge to ask the right questions and who can guide you to seeing what is already right in front of you.

When I become your mentor I will be fully engaged, giving you the time you need and, when relevant, advice.  I normally book a minimum of five sessions with my clients, giving us the time needed to get to know one another, and reflect and evaluate.

Careers are not stagnant – they grow and evolve over time, so those first five sessions are often just the starting point of a what can become a long and fruitful relationship.  As circumstances change and new challenges arise I am able to bring a lifetime of experience to the table, allowing you to successfully navigate each twist and turn, building on each step and reaching your full potential.

If you are in need or a coach and mentor please contact me. I’m happy to meet with you for a chat about your needs and goals.

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