The Right Mentor Can Elevate Your Career. Here’s What to Look For:

Pursuing a mentorship with a senior colleague is a great way to take your career to the next level. Just like how you’d seek advice from your tech friend on the best laptop to purchase; you’d hope for the same level of support in your career.

The right mentoring relationship can be a powerful tool for professional growth — it can lead to effective networking, a promotion, and a better work/life balance. But how would you know if a mentor is right for you?

Here are 3 key qualities to pay attention to:

A mentor displays enthusiasm for sharing their expertise without expecting a return.

As knowledge and experience are power in the workplace, a mentor’s generosity in teaching and sharing what they know is a great indication of someone you can reliably learn from.

Additionally, a mentor shouldn’t be begrudgingly handing over knowledge, nor should they reveal things in a vague, manipulative manner. For example:

or

Sounds more like a competitor than a mentor to me. A mentor would want what’s best for their mentees and are open to spread their wisdom.

A mentor will respectfully hand you a reality check when necessary.

As you ascend the career ladder, finding someone who’ll deliver honest and critical feedback is crucial for you to recognize your mistakes and improve. They’ll teach you how to deal with the discomfort of growth so that you can be a better version of yourself. For example:

or

Some people may call it tough love, and it takes a little getting used to. Nevertheless, a good mentor knows to serve feedback in a way that’s polite and kind, and doesn’t shy away from being direct because they’re afraid to hurt your feelings – save your tears for the pillow!

A mentor actively advocates for you, both publicly and behind closed doors.

Just like how a true friend is proud to call you their buddy and would defend your name even when you’re not physically present, a good mentor would show their support to you whenever and wherever.

One way to know is to observe the opportunities that you receive from your mentor. For example:

or

These are signs that your mentor is actively seeking opportunities for you. They care about your development and as an appreciative mentee, you should make your mentor proud!

Conclusively, the whole point of seeking out a mentor is to get important insight and advance your career. The only way that’s possible is if you’re proactive about your situation and that you’re not expecting things to just fall into place for you.

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