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5 ways mentoring can help boost career development

Published: Friday 11th September 2020

Having a mentor can give you an advantage when it comes to your future career development. They can help you refine your skills, impress the right people, and learn how to be a leader. Here is five ways mentoring can improve your chances of taking the next step in your career.

Learning tricks of the trade

We all have our methods and habits when it comes to work. The way each employee does the same task can vary considerably depending on their preference and how they were introduced to the task initially. Through mentoring, you can learn from someone with a greater amount of experience. They have likely been in your shoes and mastered how to get the job done to a high standard in an efficient time frame.

These tricks of the trade can be invaluable when it comes to saving you time. An example could be the order in which you perform a set of actions, be that in an office or working on the shop floor. A mentor knows how to organise their time and cut corners without compromising standards.

Developing leadership skills

Perhaps the most beneficial part of mentoring is being able to adapt the same leadership skills as your mentor. You will of course develop your own leadership style, but the foundations of being a good manager can be difficult to get right without a good mentor.

They can help you improve your attention to detail, install strict organisation principals within you, and handle sensitive situations with customers, employees or even senior management. Most of the best leaders take their inspiration from others. How you choose to build on it and make it your own is entirely up to you.

Networking

If you want to rise through the company then it’s important to network with a variety of people. The senior management team, other departments, and any influential external clients or partners. It’s not what you know, it’s who, is quite a common saying in business and it’s true more often than not. However, there is an art to networking and standing out that mentoring can help refine.

Mentoring and talking during conference break; networking

You shouldn’t be adding the CEO on Facebook, inviting him for a game of golf and sending him emails every time you do something. The relationship has to grow naturally. Your mentor can set up meetings, include you in key discussions and ensure you attend corporate events. They will be able to introduce you to all the right people to help with your career growth. This can include events such as the Christmas party or a team building activity.

If you did want to follow up a good conversation, add the person on LinkedIn and use this as a platform to indirectly share your work and engage with them on their posts too.

They have your back

The workplace can be a tough place to be. If you make a mistake, you might know the feeling of a colleague running to tell your line manager. If you want a promotion, you might notice other employees running for the same role start to pick you apart or distance themselves from you completely. Mentoring can provide you with support in these situations.

Not only can your mentor fightback on your behalf, it’s also likely they’ve experienced the same treatment at some point and can advise you on how best to counter it.

Play to your strengths

Employee learning new skills for career success and self development

A good mentor will help you iron out your weaknesses, a great mentor will make you hone your strengths as well. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, but it’s easy to identify your own weaknesses and fix the problem. The best mentors will know this isn’t enough to make you stand out. Instead they need to make you a specialist. They need to make your strength what makes you unique and irreplaceable to the team you work in. This will ensure you have the best chance of boosting your career growth.

If you’re looking for extra support with your career and ready for the next step in your journey then check out our career guides on Zoek.

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