Get a mentor to help grow your career.

It is said that a fool learns from his own mistakes, while a wise man from the mistakes of others. To some extent, this statement undermines the ability to learn from one’s own mistakes and get back-up on one’s feet after a fall. This quality is essential to save your neck in a competitive world.

Yet, it is also true that tolerance towards mistakes and especially towards repeating the same mistakes is very little in present times. Companies can’t afford to have employees who don’t learn from the experiences of others. A steep learning curve calls for a good mentorship programme.

Explaining the importance of a mentor, Subhasit Ratnam, director, Sapple Systems Pvt Ltd comments, “Mentors help in exploring various career options so as to find the best suited path, as per one’s skills and interests. With an in-depth domain knowledge, experience and industry exposure, a mentor can help the mentee in deciding the career path best suited for him/her.

For instance, if a professional needs mentoring, the mentor can enable the person to list out all options clearly and evaluate the same. A good mentor can suggest the pros and cons of all options, based on the individual’s interests, experience, education, attitude and the market trends, both current and future. Additionally, mentoring involves helping out with the best possible references and points of contacts for particular arenas so as to facilitate entry or growth in the selected career path.”

Thus, the concept of mentorship does not apply only to organisations as a whole, but to the micro units of change, the individual employees themselves. Hence, care must be taken to carefully select and approach the right person as your mentor. Specific qualities must be looked into.

Ratnam continues, “A mentor must ideally possess adequate experience in the domain(s) one is planning to move into or wishes to explore as a career option. The mentor must have the requisite domain expertise, industry exposure and industry contacts. Also, it must be checked at the outset that the person is ready to mentor voluntarily and not for any monetary returns.”

Usha Parvathi, associate managertraining, Tavant Technologies shares her perspectives, “Through mentorship, one gets an exposure into the decision-making and leadership styles of the seniors. Additionally, it provides an access to organisational knowledge and networking opportunities, expanded knowledge of skills and practices, an increased sense of safety while learning and a more focused development. Mentors are an effective sounding board for venting emotions, views and feelings. Since it is on a one-to-one basis, there is scope for personalised learning owing to an honest and constructive feedback. Overall, it leads to increased self-confidence and heightened career aspirations.”

Finding a mentor can become a tedious task unless you know where to look for one. You do not necessarily need to have your supervisor as your mentor. Instead, you must look for a person who has richer experiences and exemplifies the qualities that you admire.

Rahul Kulkarni, head, HR at Kale Consultants advises, “Find the smartest person who can help you in your particular needs. It is the individual’s responsibility to work hard to not only find the right mentor, but also maintain an ongoing mentor-mentee relationship. The best way to find a mentor is to be a part of as many forums and attend as many industry events as possible. In such events, you can make contacts and explore possibilities. In fact, in recent years, the Internet has also emerged as a useful tool to build networks and find the right people.”

To find a mentor, one should also consider people in the non-workplace communities. It could be a retired officer, someone you look up to or share common values with.

Article courtesy of Economic Times.


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