Leaders get mentors because they want to grow faster and make a bigger difference in the role they have now, and prepare themselves for the bigger role in the future.
Why?…because a mentor’s impact on you is at a higher level than others, as mentors will lift your goals, focus, action, and results to higher levels; and get you to use more of your potential that is already inside you.
With a MENTOR, you get…
1. Sounding Board (Clarity)
There is an old saying “How do I know what I think until I hear what say?” You are often spinning opportunities and challenges in your head, and important ones that you cannot really talk about with anyone else. This is when a mentor becomes very valuable to you, as you now have someone you can talk about those things with.
You think about these opportunities and challenges in fragments, and you never get to complete your thoughts until you either write it down or talk it through with someone else. You probably don’t have the time to write it down, but you would have time to talk with your mentor (who listens and could also give you some advice too).
Mentors force you to complete your thoughts on the important, helping you gain more clarity and take more action too. Better clarity on the important will always enable a leader to drive the key initiatives in the company faster and with better results.
2. Adviser (Ideas)
Mentors have been there before, and have collected many experiences along the way that you are now experiencing for the first time. They can give you ideas to help you think through your options on your own, or even give you some proven options that worked for both them and others in the past. However, the option you choose is always your own responsibility.
With a mentor, you are growing faster using the experiences and ideas of others. You cannot live life fast enough to experience everything on your own, so leveraging the experiences of others is the best way to speed your own growth and to have better options when you need them the most.
3. Teacher (Habits)
Successful leaders realized a long time ago that the foundation for their success is their daily and weekly habits. It is what you consistently do both daily and weekly that drives your success. As you climb in your career, you will take on bigger opportunities and challenges and lead more complex organizations along the way. The habits that got you the larger role might not be the habits that can enable you to successfully lead in this expanded role.
There is another great saying for this: when your opportunities and challenges increase, it is time for new habits, not just adding more hours.
A mentor can help you identify and create the new habits you need, and hold you accountable until you fully implement them. The majority of leaders already know or learn what they need to do, but not have the dedication and discipline to stick with it until they have created the habit. Be the leader who sticks with the most important habits you need to create, and your habits will be the foundation for each step up you make.
4. Cheerleader (Energy)
The higher you rise, the more change and complex change you will have to lead in your organization. Nobody really likes change and it takes energy to manage yours and your people’s emotions through any it. With every change, you have the people who are against it (they will be fighting the change and you) and the people who are for it (but will continually need assurance that they can actually do it). Therefore, you will need to keep your energy high and your attitude positive to manage the change and everyone’s emotions in productive ways.
Your mentor can be a great cheerleader for you and keep you energized to successfully drive the changes forward. With every change, you will experience the ups and downs, and with the mentor along side you, they help you to never have the downs slow down your progress on the change.
5. Partner (Perspective)
They say leadership is a lonely role, and you can often feel you are alone with your opportunities and challenges. In these times, it is easy to lose your perspective and see problems where problems do not really exist. Also, you can often focus on the problems that have hit you emotionally and have grabbed your attention, but these problems may not be your most important problems to be addressed first.
A mentor understands the most important opportunities and challenges on your plate and can help you keep the right perspective on where your focus could be. With your mentor available to support you, you won’t feel as alone in dealing with the important opportunities and challenges. Your mentor can be your co-pilot on the important.
Do you have a mentor?…(or even a set of mentors)
Sometimes having a set of mentors can help you develop faster if you have more than one key development area that you would like to work on at the same time. In this way, you draw upon the right mentor for the right area, and you develop each area faster.
One last thing…
A mentor will just naturally help you raise the level of your communications skills, as working with the mentor will drive you to package your key thoughts and messages in more concise and straightforward ways. Your mentor is actually helping you to begin speaking and interacting at higher levels, and this makes you better prepared for the next step in your career.
Remember…With mentoring, you gain better clarity, more ideas, new habits, more energy, and a stronger perspective.