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  • Writer's pictureJenn Donahue

3 Reasons Why Mentors are Awesome!

Mentors have played a major role in my career and life success. Have you ever wondered how they could help you advance your own career?

Mentoring makes a difference. “Employees involved in mentoring are promoted 5x more often than those not involved in mentoring,” says this study done by Sun Microsystems. This is huge. When people, especially women, get the opportunity to be led and guided by a superior, it opens up huge opportunities for career growth and advancement.

Having a mentor that’s rooting for you to succeed and is able to give direction and guidance along the way is essential to your success.

Many rising leaders hit times of hardship or struggle when advancing in their careers, and these challenges are present now more than ever. When you have a mentor that you feel connected to, it can really give you some moments of momentum and inspiration that will help you make it through the storm.

Having a mentor allows you to have a third-party view on whatever you’re up against and gives you a safe place to voice your concerns, thoughts, and feelings about situations or events that may arise.

Here are three positive impacts a mentor can have on your life and career.

1. They’ve gone through it & can bring you up the ranks

Mentors have a lot of experience and wisdom, and whatever you may be going through, they can usually help you find the way out. Because they’ve already paved their own path, they can help you find a way forward and navigate situations for your success.

Mentors are a resource and a wealth of knowledge and information that you can tap into so that you can make better decisions and take more appropriate actions.

When you have someone in your corner that has gone before you and knows the potential pitfalls and obstacles, you’re able to navigate around the landmines by following in their footsteps.

Because mentors are typically more advanced in their careers, they can become your advocate and assist your rise through the ranks by introducing you to high-level clients and allowing you to network with the people that can help you succeed.

2. They listen to you without judgment

It’s important to have many different types of mentors, especially as a female leader in STEM. You can have different mentors specific to different aspects of your life. Outside of technical knowledge or business advice, like some of my other mentors provide, Paula provided a key component: emotional support.

Paula Brown, one of my favorite mentors, gave me the wonderful gift of listening when I needed it the most.

In Afghanistan, I really struggled. The boss I had was awful; he yelled at us, degraded us, and made us feel like we were not good enough for the positions we held. Not knowing what to do or where to turn, I sought guidance from my mentor, Paula. She helped me understand that what I was experiencing was valid (my boss was exhibiting poor leadership skills), listened to my experience from a non-judgemental place, and allowed me to feel heard and understood. This was life-changing for me.

When you have a mentor who genuinely cares and wants the best for you and can give you a broader perspective, you’re going to grow much quicker than if you try to suffer through your experiences alone.

At the core of this type of mentorship is communication. Paula really took the time to get to know me and build an interpersonal relationship with me. This is essential, especially for women in male-dominated fields like engineering.

3. They give honest feedback that helps you grow

Feedback is essential to your growth. Without it, you will not understand where you can improve. And without improvement, you are stagnant.

When you have a mentor, you can receive quality feedback from someone who is invested in your growth. You can bounce ideas off of your mentor and find ways to refine them, improve them, or implement them.

Your mentor will be a reflective mirror for you to stay in your lane and stay focused on how you can keep growing in the best way possible.

“Feedback is information that can influence future actions. It is empowering, as we can choose to modify what we do to get better outcomes if we get feedback at the right time and in the right way.”

The beauty of a mentor relationship is that through getting to know each other, you get to know each other’s strengths, weaknesses, and best ways to communicate with each other. So when you receive feedback, it’s not like a bomb dropped on your ego. Your mentor will understand the right modes and methods for having important or more difficult conversations with you. This allows you to really hear, process, and understand constructive criticism and come up with a problem-solving plan that allows you to move forward in a better way than before.

Feedback can help you develop better relationships, learn and improve performance, and stay on track to achieve great things.

Rising leaders need mentors

I believe mentors are essential to female leadership in STEM. I would not be where I am today without the guidance, support, and leadership of my mentors.

It is my wish for every rising female leader to have a mentor that they connect with, learn from, and respect as they make their way to the top of whatever field they choose.

“When women are not afforded sponsorship and mentorship opportunities, they are less likely to be recommended for the jobs that will really get them into high-level positions and are more likely to be left out of development and advancement opportunities. This scenario often leaves women feeling left out or like an ‘other’ at work, leading some women to ‘downsize their own aspirations.’”

As leaders, it is our responsibility to mentor others as we rise in our own ranks because it is our ability to inspire others around us that is a tenet of great leadership.

If your team, organization, or group of leaders needs inspiration and motivation to become the best mentors they can be, book me today to speak to your audience.


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