10 Good Reasons for Having a Mentor - Page 1

Nov 27, 2006

Rajesh Setty

There is a good chance that you don’t have a mentor right now and are not even considering entering into such a relationship in the near future. Yet athletes have mentors, actors have mentors and business leaders have mentors. Why not technology professionals? Here are a few reasons why you might want to consider engaging a mentor:

1. The structure provides automatic accountability

I have three mentors and I am fortunate for having each one of them. This always happens: A few days before my meeting with each of my mentors, I start attending to several of my pending matters. My mentors don’t even have to ask me about things I promised to act on. I will take care of these things because I want to be ready with a “good” answer if they do ask me. The mentoring relationship in a way has built-in accountability.

2. They may ask you questions that you may never ask yourself

Sometimes you may put off answering some questions just because you can. You will do this even typically for questions where you know the answers are not pretty. By postponing asking the hard questions you are not solving any problem, you are just avoiding the short-term pain. Your mentor may not be so nice to you. He or she has no problem asking those hard questions and actually prompting you to start doing something about those questions.

3. You can learn to reflect

A mentor does not have an alternate agenda except to help get the most out of you. So you never have to worry about any other side-effects as you discuss your life and work issues. That in itself will let you open up and reflect on things at a level that you have never seen before.

4. Discover the “real” problem and get help to solve it

Sometimes we keep messing with symptoms rather than attacking the real problems. I have found time and again that I discuss a particular problem with my mentor and actually we end up solving the “real” problem. Solving the “real” problem will in turn solve the symptomatic problems that you first set out to solve.

5. You may escape from “short-term thinking”

Being in the technology world, you have no option but to be “current buzz-word compliant” to ensure you are in the race. This means that you have to be running (hard) just to stay where you are. While this is great for short-term success, you can’t ignore your long-term goals. Your mentor may help you balance the time you spend between short-term and long-term goals.

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