The 3 types of career mentors you need

“A mentor is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction” John C. Crosby

Studies demonstrate time and time again, that good mentoring can lead an individual to greater career success, more opportunities, even promotions and pay rises. But the value of having someone invested in your professional and personal development isn’t just reflected in our career results.

As multifaceted humans, in search of a healthy work-life-balance, hobbies, relationships and personal goals — the evidence suggests that we should apply this very same approach of ‘leaning-in’ with others to all aspects our life. To do this it’s recommended that we need three mentors in our life.

The career mentor

Typically someone senior to you from within your organisation. They will have your back and be an advocate for you. They can guide you through company politics and career choices, playing a key part in your organisational growth.

  • Expertise and experience — A career mentor typically has significant experience and expertise in your field or industry. They can offer insights into navigating the intricacies of your career path, including specific skills needed, industry trends, and potential challenges.
  • Networking opportunities — Career mentors often have extensive networks within your industry, which can be instrumental in helping you connect with key individuals, find opportunities for advancement, or discover new career paths.
  • Professional development — They can provide guidance on setting and achieving career goals, developing essential skills, and overcoming obstacles. They may offer feedback on your work, help you identify areas for improvement, and suggest strategies for advancement.
  • Navigating corporate culture — A career mentor can help you understand the nuances of corporate culture, office politics, and workplace dynamics, which can be crucial for success in your chosen field.

The peer mentor

A peer mentor is someone of similar age, experience, with similar goals — coming together to help each other grow and succeed. They are someone you can trust and be vulnerable with — this is a more relaxed style of mentoring but the results are mutually beneficial.

  • Shared experience — A peer mentor is typically someone who is at a similar career stage as you or who has recently gone through similar experiences. They can offer empathy, understanding, and practical advice based on their firsthand experiences.
  • Mutual support — Peer mentors provide a support system and sounding board for each other. They can offer encouragement during challenging times, celebrate successes together, and provide honest feedback without the power dynamics that might exist in a mentor-mentee relationship.
  • Collaboration and learning — Peer mentors can collaborate on projects, share knowledge and resources, and learn from each other’s strengths and weaknesses. They may offer different perspectives and approaches to common challenges, fostering creativity and innovation.

The life mentor

Life mentors are in the overlap area of career, community, relationships, and personal goals. A life mentor is someone you may aspire to be like in life, who’s made achievements that you find valuable, and who’s perspectives resonate with and motivate you.

  • Holistic guidance — A life mentor focuses on your overall well-being and personal development, beyond just your career. They can help you navigate life transitions, manage work-life balance, and cultivate a sense of purpose and fulfilment.
  • Personal growth — Life mentors may help you identify your values, strengths, and passions, and align them with your career goals. They can support you in setting and achieving personal milestones, fostering resilience, and maintaining a positive mindset.
  • Work-life integration — Life mentors can assist you in integrating your personal and professional life, ensuring that your career aspirations align with your broader life goals and priorities. They may offer strategies for managing stress, building healthy habits, and nurturing relationships outside of work.

Having a combination of these mentors can provide you with a well-rounded support system that addresses various aspects of your personal and professional development, ultimately helping you navigate challenges, seize opportunities, and thrive in both your career and life journey.