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Why a great mentor can help boost your career prospects in 2020

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In times of crisis a mentor can be one of the biggest assets to help you boost your career. With the COVID-19 pandemic causing a global human crisis as well as an economic crisis the likes we have not seen in generations, many workers are fearful of the future and how to navigate such turbulent times.

During challenging and unpredictable times like these, finding a mentor is one of the best investments you can make in yourself and your career. Whether you are an experienced executive or entering the workforce for the first time, you need advice from someone who has experienced crisis and times of great change.

A mentor's wealth of experience could be just what you need to deal with the new normal of work. This includes:

  • Adapting to working remotely
  • Adapting to managing teams remotely
  • Learning how to collaborate whilst working remotely
  • Learning how to incorporate wellness and mental well-being
  • Developing routines for improving focus and productivity
  • Helping adjust mind-sets to the new digital first world

Mentoring won’t eliminate all the anxieties created by the pandemic and economic fallout. But it will go a long way to empower workers to recognise the skills, mindsets and resources that will help them cope more effectively. Check out the 6 reasons why a mentor will help boost your career in 2020.

1. So what can a mentor do for me? They can help set goals

Mentoring is a relationship set up to enable a mentee’s growth and development. A mentor guides and supports their mentees in the fulfillment of career goals. This process could include taking on unfamiliar tasks, developing leadership skills and/or growing into management roles[1] , depending on what your goals are.

A mentor will challenge a mentee and encourage him or her to think through issues and develop strategies for tackling situations and problems that the mentee may not have experience dealing with. A mentor asks searching questions and offers advice and guidance based on prior knowledge and experience.

Consider that having a mentor will be especially grounding in this pandemic period. Establishing communication and goal-setting with a mentor could provide well-needed structure and a framework that could help you excel regardless of whatever panic and chaos there is out there in the world.

2. They can help build confidence.

Feeling unsure of yourself? Uncertain of what move to make next, given constant change in the current working world? A mentor can offer guidance and advice with regards to building confidence in your abilities, productivity and workflow . Feeling insecure about how to go about achieving your goals? Talking things out with a mentor could greatly help in goal discernment and the development of your plans.

After doing some work with your mentor, you’ll be much more clear about what your hopes and aspirations are, and be able to articulate them in a way that is useful and instructive for yourself as well as other people willing and able to help you.

In this way, a mentor could reduce lingering doubts around the question “What do you really want to achieve?” Together with your mentor, you’ll be more equipped to assess your situation more objectively, thoroughly and chart a path forward for success. 

3. They will keep you motivated

Setting goals with a mentor builds accountability- you might find it easy to back out of goals when it’s just you, but that will be much more difficult with a third party in the mix.

Get honest and specific about what skills you think could use some brushing up on, and ask your mentor to check in on you and offer firm encouragement along the way.

Regular discussions with your mentor could be very helpful in ensuring that you stay on track, as well as a valuable tool to monitor your progress and improvement. A mentor could potentially give honest evaluations and objective viewpoints which take your trajectory, growth and development into consideration. Take it as extra motivation during the difficult moments.

4. They will pass on their professional know-how

Mentors will be able to pass on their expertise and experience, which could be technical knowledge and skills directly related to your field, as well as soft skills that workers need to succeed in the digital age.

Also, mentors can provide alternative points of view which are valuable when you can’t see past what’s in front of you, or when you’re stuck and running low on inspiration. This is even the case when your mentors are working in different professions! Every job brings about different challenges and offers different insights. Rather than getting stuck in an echo chamber, hear a fresh take and look at your problems from another perspective.

Also, it isn’t the case that mentors will not be able to help if they haven’t gone through the exact same issue as you have. There are many overlaps between different professions[2] ; problems at the workplace are often universal, repeating themselves across all sorts of industries. Many skills are transferable.

Remember that mentors will be able to pass on tips and skills about how to work effectively during periods of volatility as well. To learn how to manage and lead effectively when others are relying on you to get the job done, who better to turn to than a professional of your choice, someone with past experience dealing with and executing tasks during times of crisis?

5. They can help you work through difficulties

Are the remarks in your previous performance appraisal troubling you? Do you need help with handling workplace relationships and communicating with colleagues? Or do you have hurdles to overcome, such as fear[3] ? The great thing about being able to discuss problem areas with your mentor is having an extra listening ear and a source of support in the process of building good habits, as well as that of quitting bad ones. The importance of this cannot be stated enough. Everyone at work is under extra stress and pressure right now, and your colleagues might not have the patience and capacity to offer extra guidance. A designated mentor would be more open and willing to guide you through overcoming your stumbling blocks.

6. They can help you to prepare for change

Remember that mentors have a wealth of experience to draw upon, and so have much to offer regarding navigating the working world, through the ups and downs. These people have seen and gone through much more than you have, and they know how to buckle down during the tough times. Learn from the lessons they learnt in the past, and you might even be able to avoid making the same mistakes that they had to painstakingly go through.

Also, don’t forget that mentors have colleagues and connections who have faced a variety of difficult problems. Through first and second hand experience, mentors are well placed to guide you on possible future steps to take to advance your career. If major transitions are to be made, they might even be able to connect you with other relevant professionals directly, helping you to expand your network.

Having a mentor can help you accelerate your career progress and learn way more efficiently than if you were hustling on your own. In tumultuous times, it’s important to enlist all the help you can get. So why not think about it and give it a shot? You never know who might prove to be important in your career journey down the road. 

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About half the sky
 

half the sky (HTS) is a career platform for women in Asia. We connect women to career opportunities at companies that care. We also want to equip you with information, tips and strategies to navigate the workplace today and the future.

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