Mentor Mantra – we all need a Mentor. Actually we need more than one!
Mentors can help you hone your abilities and guide you on how to navigate new challenges and overcome obstacles. People at the very top of their game in all walks of life credit their mentors for achieving their success and helping them improve on the ability they already have. And the positive, lasting impact of a mentor is often still felt years later.
Choosing a mentor is a real minefield, but is one really enough? In 2018 Anthony Tjan, CEO of Boston venture capital firm Cue Ball Group spoke to renowned thought leaders Ted Ideas. He made the case that five is the magic number and here is a quick reminder:
Mentor #1: The master of craft
This person can function as your personal Jedi master, someone who can provide insight into your industry and fine-tune your skills. Turn to this person when you need critical advice or brainstorming support.
Mentor #2: The champion of your cause
This mentor is someone who will talk you up to others, and it’s important to have one of these in your current workplace. These people are advocates, but they are more than just boosters. Often, they can introduce you to useful people.
Mentor #3: The copilot
Your copilot is the colleague who can talk you through projects and listen to you vent over coffee. This kind of mentoring relationship is best when it’s equally reciprocal. As well as holding each other to account you support each other.
Mentor #4: The anchor
This person could be a friend or family member who supports you to achieve specific career goals, and is your trusted confidante. To paraphrase Tjan,we all hit speed bumps in life at some point so we all need someone who can help us navigate challenging times. Because your anchor keeps your overall best interests in mind, they can be particularly insightful when it comes to setting priorities, and not losing sight of your values.
Mentor #5: The reverse mentor
And if you’re a mentor yourself, pay attention to learning from the people you’re mentoring. Speaking from his own experience, Tjan says, “Talking to my mentees gives me the opportunity to collect feedback on my leadership style, engage with the younger generation, and keep my perspectives fresh and relevant.”
Reflecting on this and considering the pace of change in recent years, especially in 2020, the balance between work life and home life has never been so blurred. It is no surprise that more people are seeking support from mental wellbeing mentors. The crossover between work and home is happening more frequently and we are continually adjusting to stress and change that is out of our control.
Mentor #6: The check and balance mentor
A wellbeing mentor enables us to acknowledge the impact of stress and encourage us to deal with it better. Taking a holistic approach gets to the heart of the effects of stress, but quickly identifies which of the available tools can be best used to repair the damage. Not only does this reduce stress and its impact in the short term, it offers clarity and guidance so red flags are noted before stress becomes a critical situation.
To consider Tjan’s own perspective on mentorship, whatever the capacity you engage with a mentor, it is a two-way street — a relationship between humans — and not a transaction. So don’t just march up to people, ask them to advise you and expect them to stop in their tracks and listen.
Take the time to develop genuine connections with those you admire, and assist them whenever you can. The rewards will be manifold.
Craig Fearn is a Mental Health & Wellbeing Consultant, Corporate Wellbeing Mentor & Strategist at BusinessMental Wellbeing, and I’m a Business Mentor who Turns Great ideas into Successful Outcomes at Really Useful Advice. Let us know if we can help you!