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Mentors/Sponsors/Teachers

July 30, 2018  

At any age, it doesn’t matter how long you have been working, we believe that it is very beneficial to have people you can turn to for advice. If you believe that you are too old to be taught or too old to learn from mentors, I worry.

Who are mentors/sponsors /teachers, and equally as important, who are not (I am going to use the term mentor but there is a very solid argument to looking for sponsors instead – we will tackle that difference in another post)? I think a lot of people try to assume that somebody more senior than one’s self can be considered a mentor.  While the level of seniority usually denotes the experience that the individual has, it’s not necessarily always true.

We believe that the best way to access mentors is to first understand where you want to go and look for someone on that path to work with. So first, figure out where you want to go. We believe, to find a good mentor, find somebody that emulates, epitomizes where it is that you want to go. Do you want to be an all-star center in basketball? Or do you want to be the number one trader on Bay Street? Or do you want to be a teacher of Grade 8 students? Whatever it happens to be, you then need to do some research as to who has been successful in that space. They may be retired.

There may be others that are currently battling the same experiences you are and there may be people who are in a role currently that you want to get into. Equally so, mentors may be people who are not currently in your professional space. They may be individuals who exemplify characteristics that you would like to try to emulate or skills that you would like to try and build. Maybe it is to someone who’s a great public speaker or somebody who is a great role model or somebody who is fantastic at remembering people’s names. You might want to put them in different buckets where they might be considered teachers or mentors.

Mentors are, in order to embody this title, very good at what they do. They also probably don’t waste a lot of time being St. Jude, the Patron Saint of the Helpless. So, you have to find a unique, creative and genuine proposition for them if they are to consider sponsoring you.

It’s a two-way street—granted the mentors have probably more to offer and less to gain—but you can still find very creative ways to provide value to the mentor. As an example, you can provide a market map to things which they are not as accessible. Maybe you are 20 years their junior and therefore, you could provide them insight into how the ‘new kids’ are doing it, or what’s going on ‘out there’ in technology.

Any person who is very good at something will have deficiencies in other areas, and finding what your mentor might be deficient in and providing a service that will help them understand more about their deficiency could be something that you can give to them in exchange for their patronage.

For more information like this, consider joining the Executive Career Academy, powered by Vlaad and Company. This program runs over three days and fully explores best-practice themes, methods, and initiatives to use when transitioning into a superior career stream, re-entering the market, or simply finding a better career.

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