Trying to do great things is difficult. Trying to do them alone is almost impossible. That’s why the most successful and influential people in their world have mentors, and also mentor others. Steve Jobs had Bill Campbell; Mark Zuckerberg had Steve Jobs; Bill Gates had Warren Buffett.

Mentors. They’ve been there, and done that. A mentor can help guide you through your professional journey, and is said to be one of the most important keys to success – Imperative at any point in your career. Yet, a woeful number of professionals navigate their careers without one.

Here are some of the biggest benefits you’ll get out of mentorship – no matter which role you play:

You’ll be Pushed to Think Outside of the Box
Mentors find ways to stimulate your personal and professional growth. Working with you in a way that pushes you out of your comfort zone, and encourages you to hone and learn new skills.

Before you start looking for a mentor, consider what kind of role you are looking for them to play in your relationship. 2 types of roles mentors typically embody are:

  • The Cheerleader – who relentlessly boosts your self-esteem and confidence until you feel brave enough to knock down your own boundaries.
  • The Coach – who provides the knowledge you need to innovate – or overcome the same adversity they did.

If you’re approached to mentor someone else, consider what role would most help them grow.

Learn How To Accept And Give Feedback
Having a mentor means you’re asking someone to give you criticism all the time. And since mentors can see where you need to improve, where you often cannot, this means you’ll need to learn how to accept that feedback – not taking it as a challenge or an insult. This understanding will continue to serve you throughout your career, where feedback is boundless.

For the mentor, this also means that if they aren’t yet skilled at giving criticism in a way that comes across as helpful rather than insulting, they’ll have plenty of time to practice to make the relationship work.

Gain A Confidant Who Gives Reassurance
With a relationship built on respect and understanding, mentors do more than give advice and help brainstorm, they become trusted advisers. They’ll listen, share your worries, and guide you through your fears with their years of experience – giving you reassurance.

When the mentor is under stress, they can use that situation as a learning exercise for the mentee. Both the mentor and the mentee benefit from the stress reducing power of the relationship, because at the heart of it, they’re friends who trust each other’s capability and good judgement.

Mentoring is all about forming a great relationship centered around a mutual passion. The most satisfied mentees are the ones who recognize that every meeting has the potential to help their mentors advance their own careers, too. The keys to establishing a successful relationship include achieving total honesty, using open and supportive communication, establishing short and long term goals, and collaboratively solving problems. It’s a lot of work, but if you do it right, your career will soar to new heights (and that goes for both of you).

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