The importance of having a Mentor (and how to find one) 


The importance of having a Mentor (and how to find one) 

Oprah Winfrey says, “A mentor is someone who allows you to see the light inside yourself.”  

A mentor is someone who has experience and wisdom in bucket loads and can help you in navigating the corporate jungle without getting downtrodden or disheartened.  Whether you are a new employee or a CEO, having a good mentor will help you not only advance and excel in your career, but also achieve more positivity in your day to day life.  Selecting the right person for you is, however, easier said than done.  As well as having life experience and skills similar to your own to share and impart, you also will benefit if you appreciate and respect each other’s differences, and learn from them. 

Here we point out some considerations in choosing the right person for you:

Why do you want to be mentored? 

We all have days where we are tired, frustrated, even overcome with workloads and priorities. Whilst some work colleagues can offer support and empathy, there are only a few people who can overcome the impulse to tell you what they believe you want to hear and have enough wisdom and inner strength to tell you what you need to hear. A mentor is a rare person who can do this. One shoe does not fit all and the choice of a mentor emanates from what you are looking for rather than the fitting into your scheme of things. 

Can you trust the mentor? 

Having a trustworthy mentor makes it easier to embrace the full benefit of the mentoring program. There is no way you can benefit from a mentoring program without trust, and therefore making all your conversations guarded and even secretive. Trust enables you to be more open to the ideas and suggestions your mentor may give you during your interactions and allows you to have full confidence in sharing your ideas and opinions. 

Does your mentor know how to break things down? 

A good mentor will help you in simplifying what you think are complex situations and will help to break down the problem that you are facing. The ability to simplify situations is a hallmark of a great mentor; they look at problems as dot points and help you quickly unravel the complexity of the situation and prioritise accordingly. They will possess the ability of seeing the big picture yet still looking at all the parts at the same time. 

Do they listen effectively? 

The most effective mentors spend more time listening to you than giving you advice. Don’t get caught with a mentor who only wants to talk about themselves – their life, their career. This is about you and while sharing and relating lives can be beneficial, just make sure the focus always comes back to you. 

Confidentiality is a must 

During your mentoring sessions, there will be disclosures you will make to the mentor. At times, you will be exposing yourself and your perceived weaknesses to them. Your mentor must have the ability to keep your secrets and support and encourage you to speak freely. Keep away from selecting a mentor who has any past history of spilling the beans or loves a gossip. Confidentiality is a must for any good mentoring program. 

Openness to share their knowledge and wisdom 

Good mentors openly share their knowledge and wisdom with others; they are ready to teach others how to do things. They openly share how they achieved success, thereby enabling others to learn from their journey. By seeking a mentor who communicates openly and honestly, will only encourage you to do the same.  

If you were to look at the careers of successful people worldwide, you’ll see that many had inspirational mentors guiding them through. By having a confidante that you can trust to encourage, support and guide you will be as rewarding for you as it will be for them. 


Olivia Bates

Olivia is an HR professional with over 14 years industry experience. She brings a great wealth of experience to the HR Central team and focuses mainly on supporting our vastly growing Regional Victoria client base. Olivia dedicates most of her time helping clients with: * Organisational development and change management * Employee engagement and coaching including work with Leadership teams from Geelong Football Club * Employee relations and dispute resolution * Leadership development and youth empowerment. This program is aimed at disengaged people and provides skills in job seeking, well-being, finances, personal presentation and career planning * HR Products developed include The Ops Box – a highly visual HR risk management tool housing essential policies and procedures for any workplace * Project and Grant management experience * Contract and Tender development & management * Permanent and executive recruitment. Olivia has placed candidates across a multitude of industries with a strong focus on the mining sector Australia wide.

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