When people think about mentorship there is a belief that mentorship is only for people starting their career or for those wanting to be promoted. When actually, mentorship is for everyone seeking personal growth. Even after reaching success, influential sports players and leaders have and seek mentors. Despite having reached a stage in their lives where they are mentors themselves. Regardless of your profession and your current job level, you should always seek at least three types of mentors: a gatekeeper mentor, an industry mentor, and a network mentor.
This is the type of mentor everyone should have. A gatekeeper mentor is someone who has the same employer as you. Additionally, this type of mentor has a management position and is working closely with other managers or the management board. Having a gatekeeper mentor is especially important if you are thinking of a promotion or want to change the department. So when the conversation about open positions surfaces in closed meetings, you have someone who would express your future goals to decision-makers. You can imagine this type of mentor to be your cheerleader, someone who would cheer for you i.e. your skills, past projects, or work ethic.
Having a gatekeeper mentor can also be very useful if your employer is in a position where conversations about lay-offs are happening. Having at least one cheerleader could save you when situations like these arise.
Always have a mentor that works outside your employer, this could be someone who is currently working in the same industry or someone who works in an industry you hope to work for. If I would compare all three types of mentors that are mentioned in this article, I would say that you would have the least contact with your industry mentor. Because once you have learned about your mentor’s growth and how they became, you will find yourself having less frequent contact with this mentor type. Still, try to maintain this relationship from time to time as this mentor could be very helpful when you make professional decisions.
The third mentor relationship you should have is a network mentor. This is a mentor who has many contacts or diverse contacts. This type of mentor is not only important when you are looking for a job. The function of a network mentor is to help you build and share your personal brand and thus is your most important mentor relationship. Let’s say you are a social media expert, when your network mentor hears that someone is looking for a social media professional from peers, this mentor could refer you. Additionally, having someone like this as a contact, allows you also to have side hustles, which is a bonus if you want to build financial wealth or want to be self-employed. Most importantly, you get to expand your network and meet more people from multiple industries, companies, and perhaps even different countries.
Regardless, whether you are still looking for mentors or you already have mentors in your life, don’t seek mentorship for personal growth only. When you reach out to potential mentors, always think about what value you can provide to them too. Keep in mind, once you have a gatekeeper, an industry, and a network mentor that your mentor relationships depend on how much effort you give in building and maintaining your relationships.
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