Who Is A Mentor? Why You Need A Mentor In Nigeria

who is a mentor
Image source: Mentoring Complete

Mentors have existed since the days of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. People nowadays frequently discuss the value of mentoring in personal development and career situations, with ‘find a mentor’ being a significant piece of advice from successful business people all over the world. You might be wondering who a mentor is and why you need one. We’ll answer these and more questions in this chapter.

Who Is A Mentor?

A mentor is someone who can help, advise, and lead you. They usually take the time to get to know you and your concerns, and then use their knowledge and personal experience to help you better.

This relationship is separate from a manager or supervisor and has a more intimate and confidential framework. Mentors may become lifetime friends, or the relationship may just endure until you achieve a goal; there is no one size fits all.

It’s an excellent technique to promote personal development and maximize continual learning.

What Do Mentors Do?

Mentors can assist their mentees in a number of ways. They can provide tangible benefits by acting as a reference or forwarding a mentee’s résumé to places where they want to begin a career. A mentor can also provide vital professional advice to their mentee, such as how to develop in their career, update their résumé, and prepare for interviews. Mentors can answer questions about their area and urge their mentees to consider their career options seriously. Mentors, who are typically established as more senior members of the industry, are well-positioned to assist mentees in considering their long-term growth.

Types of Mentors

While there are several mentorship models, the three main categories are often as follows: 

#1. Peer mentors

Professional colleagues who offer advise are referred to as peer mentors. A peer mentor, for example, may share their mentee’s role when that mentee starts at a new company and can assist in teaching that mentee about the work. Peer mentors may eventually assist their mentees in learning about career opportunities or providing advice on corporate culture. Peer mentors routinely check in and participate in both formal meetings and social situations such as lunch or happy hour.

#2. Workplace mentors

Career mentors are usually more senior than their mentees and act as career advocates and advisors. Career mentors can assist their mentees in understanding how their existing positions can progress. While career mentors are occasionally the managers of their mentees, they might also work in a separate department of the organization. Career mentors communicate with their mentees less frequently than peer mentors.

#3. Life mentors

Life mentors are typically in the late phases of their careers and may work within or outside of the mentee’s present firm. They can provide guidance during difficult professional decisions, such as assisting mentees in deciding whether to leave a job or change careers in order to find a new employment. They can also be a reliable source of unbiased and confidential information.

Why Do You Need A Mentor?

#1. Increased knowledge

Mentors are excellent providers of information. Mentors have been through similar experiences as you, whether you’re starting a business, returning to college, or changing careers. Choose mentors who will provide you with the most insight into your present stage of life or profession. Because they have already gone through it, they will be able to provide guidance on topics such as how to save money, reduce stress, and be more efficient, and will be able to connect their experiences with yours.

#2. Constructive criticism

Friends and family members may be hesitant to give you the input you require to make a change in your personal or professional life. Mentors provide constructive feedback in order to strengthen aspects of your life that need to be strengthened. Personal development may take longer without this understanding. Encourage mentors to inform you how you might enhance your strategy to achieve your goals more effectively.

#3. Personal development

Mentors seek strategies to promote personal development. They may set you to work on a specific assignment to see how well you perform once they grasp your talents and abilities. Based on your performance, they may assign you another challenge or provide you with extensive feedback on what you did well and where you may improve. Mentors seek out teaching opportunities that will help you grow along the route.

#4. Words of encouragement

Mentors provide support and words of encouragement when you need it most to keep going when life gets rough. Negative thoughts may become more apparent in your daily life if you do not have a mentor, especially if you are dealing with a challenging subject or issue. Positive reinforcement motivates you to keep trying your hardest, whatever the obstacles.

#5. Set limits

Mentorships that are successful are built on limits that set social standards and make you feel comfortable. Mentors establish appropriate boundaries that benefit you. Mentors, for example, can assist in setting priorities, defining unacceptable behaviors, and providing direction on work-life balancing scheduling. They can assist you become aware of any issues that are impacting your emotional well-being and provide strategies to overcome any disadvantages with boundaries.

#6. Unbiased viewpoints

Because mentors perform a neutral role in your life, they can provide unbiased advice on topics that are important to you. For example, if you have multiple business venture ideas but need help deciding which one to pursue, mentors are excellent sources of advice. Mentors provide opinions based on their previous experiences that they believe best fit your situation.

#7. Dependable ally

A mentor-mentee relationship must be founded on trust, honesty, and transparency. When you need someone you can rely on, a mentor can be an invaluable resource. Mentors work hard to earn your trust by attending appointments on time, listening to your tales, and keeping your information secret.

#8. Goal-setting

Mentors are ideal allies to hold you accountable if you need assistance developing and attaining goals. Your mentor can help you advance your career by setting new goals for you and advising you on how to proceed. When you first start the mentorship, develop a list of goals that make you feel uncomfortable but in a good way. Recognize that your discomfort stems from apprehension about change. When you reach your goals, you will find that your fear will transform into excitement.

#9. A new outlook

Working with a mentor can change your life by helping you understand who you are and what you want to become. While mentors are not therapists, they can aid in the promotion of sentiments of awareness and discovery that can only be obtained via intentional effort. After going through life with a mentor, you may wish to share your experiences with others, which helps you become a better leader and gives you a fresh perspective on life.

#10. Connections to networks

Mentors frequently offer their mentees access to their network connections. Enlisting the assistance of a mentor increases your chances of making new professional relationships, which may lead to new opportunities. Show your enthusiasm in meeting new contacts if your mentor plans to accompany you to business conferences and seminars.

Qualities Of A Good Mentor

The following are some characteristics of a good mentor: 

  • Compatibility: When mentors and mentees connect as individuals, it can be beneficial. Shared interests and basic values may be indicators of compatibility.
  • Honesty: Mentees should be able to trust their mentors with sensitive information. A mentee considering a career shift, for example, believes that their mentor understands how to keep this information confidential until the mentee makes and publicly announces their decision.
  • Expertise: Mentors often have greater industry experience than their mentees. While mentors may not always have advanced job titles or many years in the sector, they do have the skills and expertise required to advise their mentees.  
  • A mentor recognizes the importance of listening first and then responding. This can help them focus on their mentee’s needs and aspirations.
  • Good mentors spend time getting to know their mentees. This could include asking their mentees questions about their background, goals, or how they spend their free time.
  • Mentors engage directly with their mentees about the assistance they hope to provide, how frequently they’d like to meet, and their preferred form of communication. They’re also upfront about their availability and set clear boundaries.

What a Mentor Isn’t

A mentor isn’t a therapist, but they can provide vital support and advice on a variety of topics, including mental health. It is critical to communicate this to all people involved in mentoring.

A coach is not the same as a mentor. Coaches are compensated and provide time-bound instruction on specific topics.

Mentoring is not a cure-all. While mentoring can help with a variety of development goals and has many benefits for both partners and organizations, it cannot solve all problems. Along with mentorship, there are other supplementary methods for developing your people.

Why Do People Become Mentors?

People prefer to mentor others because it is an extremely satisfying experience to witness someone grow and achieve as a consequence of your advice. Mentoring has numerous advantages for both the mentor and the mentee, including improved communication and the development of leadership abilities.

A study conducted by Harvard Business Review on the positive effects of mentoring discovered that persons who served as mentors also experienced reduced levels of anxiety and rated their job as more meaningful than those who did not mentor.

How To Find A Mentor

If you have someone in mind who you appreciate as a mentor, we recommend reaching out to them for a coffee or a video call. Say you’d like to pick their brain about a certain area and have some questions prepared – but don’t ask them to be your mentor immediately!

It’s critical to establish a rapport with them before making the request. If you have a solid rapport and can see how their experience will benefit you in your career, ask them if they would be willing to meet with you more frequently and mentor you.

It can be difficult to find mentorship on your own at times. You may not know the right people or may be too shy to approach them. In that situation, contact your company. There are more companies than ever conducting formal mentorship programs, so there’s a strong possibility your company can help you. ERGs (employee resource groups) can also provide assistance.

What are The Three Qualities Of A Mentor?

To ensure that your mentor is a good fit for you, look for someone who respects you, gives you honest feedback, and is an expert in your industry.

What Are The Four Stages Of A Mentor?

Preparation, bargaining, facilitating progress and closure are the four stages of a successful mentoring relationship.

What Challenges Do Mentors Face?

Expectations and assumptions that are unrealistic can devastate a mentoring relationship. Overburdening the mentee with knowledge and expecting the mentee to be the mentor’s clone are two instances of unrealistic expectations that can harm the connection.

In Conclusion,

While mentees benefit most visibly from mentorship, the relationship can provide mentors with personal and professional benefits as well. Serving as a mentor can expand a mentor’s professional network, strengthen their skills and expertise, and provide a sense of accomplishment. Being a mentor may also expose the mentor to fresh information or trends in their sector.

  1. WHAT IS A MENTOR: Definition, Roles & Examples
  2. 5 Ways To Improve Your Business Skills
  3. How to benefit from business mentorship
  4. HOW TO BE A GOOD MENTOR: Best Ways, Qualities and Roles


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