The Hidden Power of Mentoring
There’s something about Mentor relationships that showcase the very best about humanity.
It’s centred around sharing knowledge, advice based on experience, providing support and creating opportunities for someone who stands where you once stood. It’s about reaching out your hand and guiding someone along the path you’ve already walked.
Throughout history – some of the most successful people have been mentored by some well recognised names.
The late Steve Jobs (Apple) served as a mentor to Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook). The two developed a relationship in the early days of Facebook and often met to discuss the best business and management practices for the company.
In the world of fashion, designer Christian Dior mentored Yves St. Laurent. After he moved to Paris, St. Laurent was introduced to Dior by the editor of French Vogue. At 21, St. Laurent replaced Dior as the designer of the Dior couture house, launching his career.
PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi credits her mentor relationships as the key to her success: “If I hadn’t had mentors, I wouldn’t be here today. I’m a product of great mentoring, great coaching.”
Inevitably in a career, a transition occurs where you not only find yourself as a mentee, but also a mentor. What is created is a beautiful chain of people, who not only help those below them, but also celebrate and cheer for their successes.
You can read all the professional books and guides in your chosen industry, but the impact of a human relationship can never be rivaled. A mentor understands not just what you do, but how you feel.
What to look for in a mentor:
- Someone who you like and respect.
- Someone with a similar professional style to yours. Are you the quiet achiever or the most vocal contributor to a meeting? Choose a mentor whose style you reflect.
- Someone who is approximately 10 years older, or more experienced than you – these relationships work well as the mentor is not too far removed from where you are now, but larger age/experience gaps can be just as beneficial.
- Someone in a similar or related industry.
- Someone outside your direct work environment. Internal mentor relationships are fine, but sometimes there’s benefit to be had from getting an external opinion.
- Someone who believes in you.
With all human interaction, there is something to be learnt by everyone and a mentor/mentee relationship can be incredibly rewarding for both parties.
IAJN has just launched our new Mentor Match program for international alumni, connecting recent graduates with experienced professionals. Participation is free for both mentors and mentees. For more information or to apply to be involved email [email protected]