Symbiotic relationships

Spend time to find the most suitable mentor.

Published - September 03, 2017 05:00 pm IST

Personal development, personal and career growth, progress and potential concepts. Coach (human resources officer, supervisor) motivate employee to growth.

Personal development, personal and career growth, progress and potential concepts. Coach (human resources officer, supervisor) motivate employee to growth.

Forging a career path that is satisfying on multiple fronts involves intelligence, grit and acumen. A job in which you are continually growing, both professionally and intrinsically, is an ideal that many people aspire to, but few achieve. Sailing dexterously through the crests and troughs that any job entails is a skill. And having a person whom you can turn to for advice and life direction can help you steer through these challenges more smoothly. A mentor assumes many pivotal roles as he or she can be an advisor, guide, counsellor and possibly even a confidante. So, spending time and effort to pick the most suitable mentor can help you grow in your career and as an individual.

Be proactive

While a handful of fortunate people may be handpicked by a mentor who helps them traverse new heights, most people need to take a more proactive approach in finding the right mentor. As this can be a lifelong relationship, it is worthwhile spending time and energy in finding the right person.

In Business News Daily , Nicole Fallon writes that a good mentor has to be more experienced and successful than you. While he or she should have knowledge about your field, he or she doesn’t necessarily have to be in the same line provided he shares your value system. Further, you need someone you can speak to candidly, and your mentor should be able to give you constructive feedback and encouragement based on your performance. A true mentor is invested in your personal and professional growth, and can thus guide you accordingly.

In order to find the right mentor, Fallon suggests that you speak to a number of experienced people, before zeroing-in on a few whom you think may be potential mentors. Have a one-on-one meeting to see whether the person will be right for you. If you feel comfortable and buoyed by the person, you can forge a relationship that may help you move forward at various stages of your career and life.

A mentor acts like a sounding board for you to articulate your plans and receive constructive feedback. You can also ask your mentor to gauge your performance in various domains and bounce off ideas on how you can improve. As conflicts and crises are invariable in almost any job, your mentor can hone your problem-solving abilities.

Even though it is perfectly fine to have more than one mentor, you don’t want to spread yourself too thin as you will gain maximally from these relationships only if you allow them to mature over time. Both you and your mentor have to get to know each other fairly deeply. Only then can your mentor guide you to harness your unique strengths and surmount your weaknesses.

While some may take a more proactive role by seeking out their mentees, you may have to be the one who initiates interactions with your mentor. The most important aspect is that you feel comfortable with the person. In most cases, mentoring is symbiotic with your mentor feeling charged and spurred by you.

The author is Director, PRAYATNA.

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