Mentorship Matters: The value of having a mentor to overcome challenges and develop your career

5 Minutes

In today’s fast paced world and workplace with ongoing challenges and barriers to overcome, a mentor can help guide you through your journey and share their experiences with you.

On the other hand, becoming a mentor can also be a great role to play to unlock your own potential, challenge yourself and share your insights, knowledge and experiences with others. It can be a fulfilling experience for anyone that seeks to become a mentor.

Mentorship is a frequent talking point with clients and candidate at CSG Talent, especially in some of the male dominated industries we operate.

Taylor Hawkins is a Senior Project Manager at STACK Infrastructure. Throughout her career she’s been a strong advocate for mentorship, through her academic studies and her commercial career. Throughout this article, we share her thoughts and insights on mentorship. “It's not been without its challenges. What I found most valuable is making connections with other women and finding that mentorship and understanding. Finding other women that have maybe met some of those challenges and learning from their experience to overcome them.” 

What are the benefits of having a mentor?

Having a mentor can add a great amount of value to both your professional and personal development, through support, encouragement and shared experiences. According to a survey carried out by CNBC and Survey Monkey, 90% of employees who have a mentor state they are happier in their role.

Some of the most significant benefits include:

Confidence Building

Having a mentor can help inspire and encourage individuals which can result in a boost of self-confidence and self-motivation. A mentor not only helps you build confidence in yourself and your ability to reach your goals, but they will also celebrate the little wins along that journey with you. A mentor really cares about the development and happiness of their mentees, by sharing positive feedback, encouragement and genuinely having an interest in what they have to say can have a positive impact on confidence.

87% of both mentors and mentees say their relationships make them feel empowered and develop greater confidence - Mentorloop

Support your career development

A mentor can help support and guide you throughout your career development, through acquiring new skills and experience based on their recommendations and personal experiences. They may be able to suggest alternative routes to achieve your career goals which you may not gain exposure to if someone hasn’t taken that path. A mentor can help you set your career goals and map out the various steps needed to obtain those goals.

Provide guidance and alternative perspectives

There is a lot to be said for mentors helping individuals navigate their role more successfully and their entire career journey. A mentor will effectively be a guide, by sharing their own knowledge and experiences that individuals can learn from and build on their own experiences. Hearing from someone who has been through similar experiences and who has good knowledge of the same role, industry and market will help individuals overcome challenges and problem solving throughout their journey. It can also be refreshing to hear different perspectives from a mentor to help you decide on the best solutions or approaches you may choose to take yourself.

Build relationships and your professional network

By working with a mentor, you can really expand your own network through introductions they make on your behalf. This can help you build relationships with others in your business function or industry sector, which can open-up new opportunities, collaborations and learning. Through expanding your network and working closely with your mentor in building your knowledge and growing your skillset, you will in return gain increased exposure and visibility in your market. This can have a powerful impact on your personal brand.

How important are career mentors?

Mentors help individuals build confidence, bridge any knowledge gaps, open up your network, help you achieve your goals and play a big part in being an advocate for you and your overall development.

Taylor Hawkins shares her insights on the importance of having a mentor;

“Unfortunately, I didn't realize early in my career just how valuable having a mentor was. Someone that you can always approach when you're finding yourself facing challenge. Mentorship has been invaluable to me.

I've also look to them to ask questions like - Am I seeing this problem incorrectly? What would you do if you were me? And without that, I genuinely couldn't tell you how I would have overcome a lot of challenges in my field.  For me personally, learning to work with a myriad of different vendors and go from a GC to managing the GC on site. It's all been a challenge and a heavy lift, and without mentorship, I would not be here.”

Taylor’s not only benefited from having mentors throughout her career, she also acts as a mentor to others in her field which she finds extremely rewarding - “On being a mentor, anything that I can do to make someone else's path a little bit less bumpy, my path has been a blessing to me. But again, not without its challenges.   Anything I can share so someone doesn’t have to go through some of the same hurdles and lessons learned that I've found myself in.”

How do you get a career mentor?

If you’re seeking a mentor for your career, it’s important to approach the right person who is going to guide you and provide the best advice, direction and insights to support your development.

Here are some top tips to help you source the best career mentor for you as an individual:

Explore mentorship programs

It may be that your employer runs an in-house mentorship program where connects are made internally where employees can seek mentorship from more experienced, senior level employees. Alternatively, if this isn’t accessible within your organisation, there are organisations and online platforms which offer mentorship programmes and connect relevant individuals to one another.

Utilise your network

Even if your organisation doesn’t facilitate an official mentorship program, this doesn’t mean you cannot seek a mentor internally. If there are senior level employees who you have a great respect for, inspired by and who’s career journey is relevant to your development, approach them and express your interest in them being your mentor. It may be that you have access to a number of potential mentors through any alumni networks, working relationships or your LinkedIn network.

When reaching out to a potential mentor, make sure you’ve spent time establishing and researching them to ensure they are the right mentor for you. Pick up the phone or send an email, but approach your communication with enthusiasm and express your reasons for why you’re keen for them to be your mentor and what you are wanting to achieve by working with a mentor.

A mentor can be valuable at any stage of your career, and it’s equally rewarding to have a mentor as it is to be a mentor. A mentor will experience personal growth themselves by supporting another with their development, it can also have a significant impact on an individuals sense of purpose and self-confidence.

At CSG Talent we speak with senior level to c-suite professionals on a daily basis across a vast range of industry sectors globally. If you’re keen to explore the next steps in your career journey, please get in touch for a confidential conversation here.