Isaac Newton famously stated, “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.”
It sounds like Newton had some mentors in his life, and he’s not alone. Some of the most influential people throughout history have benefited from mentoring relationships: Socrates mentored Plato, Plato mentored Aristotle, Steve Jobs mentored Mark Zuckerberg, Maya Angelou mentored Oprah Winfrey, Warren Buffet mentored Bill Gates, and Stella Adler mentored Robert De Niro and Marlon Brando.
These examples demonstrate how powerful of a tool mentoring can be for career success and progression. Yet even though the concept of mentoring has been known and practiced for centuries, it’s often underutilized in the professional world today. If you don’t already have a mentor and are wondering what kind of value one would provide, consider these six ways having a mentor can boost your career.
1. A mentor can help you develop your soft skills
When chosen correctly, a good mentor will show you how to work smarter, not harder. They’ll help you develop the soft skills you need to understand and lead people, navigate office politics, recognize opportunities, and create successful strategies.
2. A mentor can fine-tune and expand your vision
Processing things out loud with a trusted mentor can elevate your critical thinking and help you quickly refine and expand your goals. Mentors can also help you become more self-aware by asking carefully crafted questions and listening intently to understand what’s important to you. Sometimes their questions will lead you to discover new things about your strengths and weaknesses. Other times, mentors will share ideas to challenge you and help you see beyond your sphere of influence.
3. A mentor can unlock doors to opportunities
Referrals and recommendations from your mentor can unlock doors to opportunities beyond your circle. Their connections become your connections, granting you access to a wide array of resources and experiences that can accelerate your growth and advancement.
4. A mentor can push you to go farther
A great mentor will never let you settle or become complacent. They will always share honest feedback with your best interest in mind, helping you learn from setbacks and pushing you to do better or go farther than you thought possible.
5. A mentor can protect you from missteps
Mentors protect you from possible missteps by sharing personal experiences and lessons learned. They can provide insight on how to make sound business decisions or navigate political landmines within your organization. Their wise counsel can help you avoid errors in judgement that may derail your success.
6. A mentor can help make you happier at work
Because a mentor helps you hone your skills, you will become more competent and successful at your job. There’s also a good chance that you’ll earn more, as your mentor can help you negotiate better pay or earn a promotion. When you’re good at what you do and growing, you will feel happier in your work and personal life.
In short, mentors provide invaluable counsel and resources that you may not have access to otherwise. By getting to know you personally, they can offer custom-tailored advice to help you reach your goals faster and easier.