The best mentors can help you define your goals, manage your career path and challenge your aspirations but you can’t just get that from one person. It would be too easy for one person to have all the answers you need.
Having taken advantage of the Women in PR Mentoring scheme and others in my workplace, I’m on board with the idea that you need multiple mentors. So, this isn’t a blog about why you need a mentor it’s about who is part of your mentoring squad. With the right mentors in place, a squad comprising of cheerleaders, disruptors and supporters, you’ll make further strides in your career.
Once you’ve acknowledged that everyone brings something different to the party, you realise that your squad needs to have different perspectives to challenge you and keep you growing. Here are the seven types of mentors that you might need:
If you want to be the best in your field, you need to look up and find someone who is excelling. This person’s wisdom and experience will help you when you need insight on the industry and advice on honing your skills. They might not necessarily be in your company or your sector but someone who can share their ‘been there, done that’ perspective, the lessons learnt and best practice.
The one who has your back
Who is in the room for you when decisions are being made? This person will play a crucial role in having your back and speaking up for you. With an investment in you and your career, they can be your connectors too to useful and influential people in your industry and organisation as well as opening doors to projects or interesting pieces of work. They are often referred to as sponsors.
You need someone who will be the one to give you a healthy push and to keep you moving forward. They will be the one who challenges your assumptions and way of doing things, asks the tough questions and ensures you are doing the things you should be to the best of your ability.
This is often overlooked but you can offer and get so much out of a mentoring relationship with your peers. You might not even stick a mentoring label on it but to have someone at your level who motivates and encourages you, spots opportunities for you and keeps checking in on progress. They might be a sounding board for new idea, a supportive ear or support you when things don’t go to plan.
This person might be a friend or a family member but someone who gives you the motivation and energy. When you hit challenges or a difficult patch, they will hold you up and be the support you need to pick up and keep going.
A reverse mentor
You shouldn’t just be looking up – your more junior colleagues have so much to offer. This person could bring a fresh perspective, give you feedback on your leadership style and provide insight on how engaged the younger generation are or what they care about in your organisation.
No, seriously. You know you better than most people. So, take the time to write down and track your goals. Check in on yourself and hold yourself accountable against those goals. Be proactive – read and listen to the wealth of content that is out there on LinkedIn and other social media platforms and through networking groups like Women In PR. By educating yourself and taking ownership, you play a pivotal role in your career.