It’s no secret that a mentor can make a life-changing impact on your career. They can help guide your steps, expand your perspective and introduce you to the right people. People often ask the question, however, “What kind of mentors do I need and how many should I have?”
These are the three types of mentors that you can’t thrive without.
The mentee isn’t commonly associated as a “mentor” of any kind. The honest truth is this—just because you’re mentoring someone doesn’t mean there aren’t lessons to be learned and these lessons can often be substantial ones.
Mentees can teach you how to listen better. In this relationship, you’re the one trying to help guide them forward. This requires a lot of listening, which is something that any aspiring communications professional needs to master. Moving forward, this will help you better listen to the needs of clients, co-workers and other stakeholders.
You will also learn how to be a better leader. Some say leaders are born and others say leaders are made. The bottom line this is—it takes practice to be a great leader. Having a mentee is a pivotal opportunity to hone your skills. And in an honest relationship, your mentee can help you further this skill by providing feedback on how you’re leading.
The Person Just a Few Steps Ahead
For some, this could be a recent graduate who scored their first job. For others, it could be the professional with two-to-three years experience more than them.
The person just a few steps ahead, also known as a new pro, has a lot to offer. They were in your shoes not that long ago. A lot of the steps you’re about to take are ones they can effectively coach you on. Relevant advice can help you avoid pitfalls in the future.
The Experienced Veteran
This is what people most commonly associate with the term “mentor” and with good reason. The experienced veteran is someone established and decorated in the industry. They’ve proven themselves time and time again.
Not only do they have the connections to help you move forward, but they also have the wisdom to guide you through those make or break moments. Most importantly, however, when it comes to the bigger picture, these kind of mentors can help you think broader.
One More Thing
After learning this you might feel rushed to run out and score your own mentor. If you have not established the relationship already, I encourage you to pump the brakes. What’s most important about mentor relationships is that they aren’t forced. You can’t force anyone to be a mentee or a mentor, and you shouldn’t try to. By positioning yourself in the right circles—your PRSSA Chapter, your local PRSA Chapter and PRSSA National events—you can establish organic relationships that last the test of time.
Ben Butler is an entrepreneur and marketing communications professional. He’s the founder of a public relations and branding firm, Top Hat IMC, director of inbound partnerships at an inbound marketing agency and head of communications at a SaaS startup. You can connect with Ben on LinkedIn and on Twitter @BenButlerPR.