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Why you need a mentor – and how to find one

Posted by & filed under Careers and Beyond.

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Most of today’s great visionaries have had a mentor, and in turn have mentored others. Steve Jobs leveraged the knowledge and experience of several mentors. (Nolan Key Bushnell, an American engineer and entrepreneur and founder Atari and Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza was just one of them.) In turn, Jobs mentored several other professionals at various times in their careers, including Marc Benioff of Salesforce. Bill Gates had a mentor before the success of Microsoft. (Dr. Ed Roberts ultimately inspired Gates to start Microsoft.) Warren Buffett was mentored by renowned American economist and professional investor Benjamin Graham.

In a blog she writes for Forbes, Lolly Daskal, a leadership and development coach

explains, “Mentorship goes far beyond giving advice; a mentor commits valuable time and focused attention to assure that you’re progressing toward your goals.” According to Daskal, when professionals hit speed bumps, it’s usually because they haven’t properly identified their purpose and acknowledged their strengths and weaknesses. This is where a good mentor comes in.

How to find a mentor.

In order to find a good mentor, you need to be buttoned up. You need to know yourself and what you want to improve. You also need to be willing to show vulnerability. By understanding your strengths and weaknesses, and where you want to go in life – and by being honest about these things – you will be better prepared in your search for a mentor.

For example, if you’re looking to improve your communication skills, you will want to look to people who communicate well. You can find them at work, and in professional organisations. If leading with ethics is something for which you want to keep yourself accountable, (and we hope it is), seek an ethical leader or spiritual person that you respect.

The five types of mentors.

Jennifer Dulski, President & COO at Change.org, maps five types of mentors:

  • The Advisor – a person who has good advice for every situation
  • The Role Model – a person who is living the life you envision for yourself
  • The Listener – a person who practices active listening skills and has an appetite for understanding, and can make you better because of it
  • The Motivator – a person who reminds you of your greater purpose
  • The Achiever – a person with high standards who will push you beyond what you think is possible

At Coventry University College Online, we understand the importance of a good mentor. That is why students enrolled in our online undergraduate courses benefit from a dedicated Student Support Advisor – a kind of mentor who is with them from day one through to graduation. Learn more.

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