It’s no secret that a mentoring relationship can be extremely valuable for professionals in the modern marketplace. It plays a key role in helping up and coming employees climb the corporate ladder while also giving industry experts an outlet to continue learning — but it’s only effective when the mentor-mentee relationship is a good match. In order for both parties to walk away satisfied, compatibility is a crucial factor to success. So, how can you determine whether a mentor is right for you?
If you think about it, starting off a mentorship is a lot like dating. Finding a willing partner on a dating app is not necessarily the hard part — it’s figuring out whether or not that person could be boyfriend or girlfriend material that takes a lot more time and effort. Similarly, LevelNext takes the difficulty of meeting potential mentors out of the equation. However, it’s up to you to decipher which of those mentors is the best fit. Here are some tips for how you can test the compatibility between you and your mentor.
How Do They Make You Feel?
It’s important as you start forming mentoring relationships that you pay attention to the way your mentor makes you feel. If you ever find yourself feeling inferior and discouraged after meeting with your mentor, that may be a tell-tale sign that they aren’t a good fit for you. The right mentor will always make you feel empowered to take initiative in your own learning. You may not always feel 100% comfortable, but that’s a good thing. You will know your mentor is a good fit when they find the right balance between pushing you outside of your comfort zone and making you feel like you’re capable of achieving anything.
Do They Challenge You?
The best mentorships aren’t often the easiest. It’s important that your mentor challenges you and pushes you to new heights. They may even let you stumble and make mistakes, but they will always be there to help you get back on the right track. You want your mentor to act as a voice of guidance, but leave the hands-on learning to you. If they step in to do everything for you the moment things get hard, that will only hinder your progress. Make sure that your mentor gives you the freedom to work at your own pace. At the end of the day, they are here to help you carve out your own career pathway by sharing their knowledge and experiences — not by giving you a cheatsheet.
How Are They Similar/Different?
Most relationships in life are often based on the similarities that two people share. However, when it comes to mentorships, the more different you are from your mentor, the better. In order to effectively learn and grow, you need to be exposed to new perspectives — that’s where your mentor comes in. Even though it may seem logical at the time, you don’t want to choose a mentor who is exactly like you. Ideally, your mentor will be someone with a different background or expertise who can teach you new skills or approaches to a problem. Sure, it may not always stick, but mentors are a great opportunity to expose yourself, try something new, and see how it goes.