How Can Having a Mentor Boost My Career?
A mentor can have different roles: a role model, an advisor, a coach or a supporter – or all four! Here’s how you can be the perfect mentor.
A mentor in the workplace is an individual who offers guidance to a new or inexperienced employee - the mentee.
At Critical, mentorship is integral in helping us put people first. It allows us to provide support for people in our organisation, enabling them to grow personally, professionally and meet and exceed their goals.
No matter what phase of your career you’re in, having the support of a mentor at work will help to make your journey easier. How? By taking a sip of the magic potion of guidance!
There are three stages in our professional life: beginning, middle and end. All are associated with different emotions and motivations. At the beginning of your career, there’s a sense of being overwhelmed, the thrill of starting something new, and sometimes a fear that things won’t go as planned. In the middle phase, you start to get used to your new job: the projects, the people you work with. The excitement of having a new challenge has worn off somewhat. That’s why this phase is the time when you’re most likely to stagnate. Lastly comes the swansong moment: the end of your career, when you've accomplished all the great things you wished for and it’s time for new adventures.
All these phases are distinct but have one thing in common: they benefit from the help and support of a mentor or career coach. But what makes a mentor a mentor?
A mentor can have different roles: a role model, an adviser, a friend or supporter – or all four of them. A mentor can also be a coach; the main difference is that they can give advice and talk about their personal experiences. They will give the mentee the right support, helping them achieve better job satisfaction and acknowledge and overcome their strengths and weaknesses. This will lead to a more efficient learning process and will expedite professional development.
Having a mentor will give you the right tools to be ready to embrace your true potential and possess the confidence you need to progress in your career.
In sum, a mentor is someone you can learn from, someone who will help you define your career goals better, someone who will listen to your problems and doubts and offer you confidential support.
It’s key that for organisations to form mentorship cultures that help their employees achieve their aspirations. But how do you find the right mentor? Here’s our three tips to getting the mentor of your dreams:
- Know your short and long-term goals. Ask yourself where you want to be in 6 months or in 3 years. You can exchange ideas with your mentor and clarify your goals. Also, it’s good to talk about day-to-day activities and practise specific skills.
- Make sure your mentor is the right fit for you. Is your future mentor already in your existing network? If so, it will be easier for them to mentor you. Also, make sure the person you are thinking about has the expertise you're looking for!
- Be an active listener and show your potential mentor the value of their feedback. Be open to suggestions and aware that a mentor might change your career! Don’t forget they’re human too, so show gratitude and kindness.
How we mentor at Critical
At Critical, we've set up the Mentorship programme, aiming to ensure employees have someone to help them interpret feedback, assess their performance, and encourage them to pursue their career aspirations.
We asked Renata Silva (Engineer) and Jorge Rodrigues (Operations Director) what they have learnt from the mentorship programme so far. Look at what they had to say:
Renata Silva: After a couple of meetings, I learnt a lot from my mentor. Mónica Sobreira's experience is very rich, and she is always using concrete examples to explain concepts and to enlighten her ideas. I'm still relatively new to this field of informatics and, even with all the experience I have and the things I've learned since I started working at Critical five years ago, there are still so many things to learn and to experience. It was good to talk with and hear from someone with more experience. I've already started to apply some small changes in my daily work as well as more widely in my personal life.
Jorge Rodrigues: First, I gained a better understanding of what it means to be a mentor, and of how to help others achieve their goals. It was also an enriching experience personally. In discussing others' expectations, goals and ambitions, we also learn something about our own. And we create a mindset of thinking outside-the-box and of looking for alternative approaches and solutions, which makes us more effective in our work.
Mónica Sobreira, a Division Director at Critical Software, commented on our Mentorship programme: I truly believe in this programme and the work of the great mentors I’ve had at Critical has led to my success at work. Having an understanding mentor can help us manage our expectations and define an action plan to progress towards our goals.
Want to be part of this mentorship culture? Take a look at our current openings here.