After 15 + years of professional journey, if I look back and retrospect every aspect of the same, it was full of leanings, ups and downs, challenges and most importantly meeting some awesome people throughout. I would have not what I am today without their support and guidance. There are lots of things which cannot be learned without a mentor although google is at our finger tips all the time. I am one of the luckiest individuals who got opportunity to work with few great mentors who helped me to shape up my career to the direction I was willing to achieve. In this article I would like to share my experience about mentor mentee relationship and why it is very important to have a professional mentor for everyone.
Why do we need mentor?
Can we imagine our life without parents, we just cannot, who are the first mentor of our life. Similarly, behind every sports person we cannot ignore the effort of having a dedicated coach. Mentoring is a meaningful commitment by both mentor and mentee to achieve career success. Not everything in life has a user manual. Instead of reinventing the wheel, we can learn life lessons from the experience of others. For example, for someone new to the software industry it might be difficult to face the business client from the first day in job. But if he /she attends those meeting with a mentor for some time it automatically boosts the confidence level. Same applicable for any technical skills, we can learn almost everything from google but a wise design decision can be taken only by discussing the same with SME. It’s not just developing a particular skill we need a mentor. A great mentor can guide us to set goals for our career and realize the same. If we want a different aspect/opinion about anything mentor is the one we can approach.
Types of mentors:
  • Leader/Coach (Online/Offline)
  • Peer mentor (Online/Offline)
What mentees can learn from a mentor?
  • Identification of strengths and weaknesses
  • Technical skills
  • Soft skills (Communication, Networking, Business development, Confidence building, Team building, Negotiation etc)
  • Career guidance
What mentors can achieve from a mentor/mentee relationship?
  • Respect
  • While interacting and passing the knowledge, mentor can also learn something new and gain a fresh perspective out of it.
  • Improves communication and networking skills
How to start the process: If you still not have any mentor who can guide you, here are some details on how to start this mutually beneficial relationship process.
  • Identification - Identify your mentor/mentee whom you think is most suitable for a working partnership, trustworthy, good listener and have time for this commitment.
  • Goal setting - Set the goal and timelines clearly like what you want to achieve and by when considering your available schedule.
  • Implementation - Once goals are in place, start working on the same taking guidance from your mentor. Remember mentor is there for your guidance but actual hard work you need to do, no spoon feeding please. Both should be aware of the responsibilities defined in the goal setting phase and continuous review process should be on going as per the timelines.
  • Conclusion - Once both mentor and mentee feel goals has been achieved, we can end the process. But this doesn't mean the end of the relationship, but a new beginning for both of them to start another one might, most likely the mentee turned into a mentor for someone else.
In this article I described the formal way of having an professional mentor. But that does not limit us from having an informal coffee time mentors too who shares experience, inspires and motivates and most importantly who just cares for you. Please share your experience and leanings in the same line.