The Seven Types of Mentors You Need in Your Career

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What do Oprah Winfrey, Olivia Rodrigo, and Laverne Cox have in common? Beyond their grit, talent, leveraging their reach to promote civic advocacy, and enviable wardrobes, they all credit their incredible success to mentorship. They’re not alone; mentorship is a must-have tool that top leaders leverage to advance their careers and secure the support needed for a rewarding professional journey. Similar to how leading CEOs consult more than one advisor for business insights, networking, and hiring, you too should cultivate a diverse board of mentors to broaden your career prospects.

In my book, Mentorship Unlocked: The Science and Art of Setting Yourself Up for Success, I outline the seven types of mentors every professional should incorporate into their Board of Mentors. Selecting mentors at pivotal points in your career where their guidance is most beneficial can be a catalyst to your growth. A tip to keep in mind: engage with no more than three mentors simultaneously to avoid the development of superficial relationships or experiencing burnout from managing each connection with the dedication it warrants. Concentrate on finding mentors who align with your goals for the next 6, 12 or 18 months. Remember, building your board of mentors is a strategic endeavor, not a rush for immediate gratification, and there’s ample time in your career to achieve this.

When exploring mentors in any of the seven categories, make sure they embody the following qualities:

Empathy:

A good mentor possesses the ability to understand and share the feelings of their mentee. By empathizing, they can provide tailored advice that resonates personally and professionally with the individual’s circumstances.

Experience:

Deep knowledge and experience in their field enable mentors to offer insight and guidance that is both relevant and practical, drawn from real-world successes and failures.

Communication Skills:

Clear and effective communication is essential for mentors to impart wisdom, provide constructive feedback, and foster an open dialogue with their mentees.

Commitment:

Good mentors are committed to the ongoing development of their mentees. They invest time and energy into the mentoring relationship, ensuring consistent and valuable interactions.

Patience:

Patience allows mentors to give mentees the time they need to grow and learn from their mistakes, understanding that development is a process and everyone progresses at their own pace.

When selecting a mentor to join your Board of Mentors, it’s important to reflect on your objectives for the upcoming 6, 12 and 18 months, your current career phase, and your capacity to cultivate a mentoring relationship. Ideally, you should aim to meet with your mentor once a month while keeping the lines of communication open through regular updates, sharing articles of mutual interest, and engaging beyond your scheduled sessions to foster a stronger bond. It’s more effective to work closely with a select few mentors rather than overextend yourself and risk turning mentorship into a burdensome task rather than a valuable tool for your development. Mentorship should be enriching and enjoyable, ultimately serving as a positive influence in your professional life. Rest assured, any of the seven types of mentors discussed will serve as an excellent guide on your career path.

The Seven Mentors You need in your career:

Company Insider

A company insider mentor is someone who helps you navigate the corporate landscape of the company you are currently in. This mentor knows the ins and outs of the company culture, processes, and politics. In the television series “The Office,” Jim Halpert serves as a company insider to the new and often clueless employees. His knowledge of Dunder Mifflin’s operations and culture makes him a valuable guide for navigating the workplace.

Skill Master Mentor

The Skill Master Mentor is an expert in a particular domain or skill set, offering deep insights and practical knowledge to their mentee. This mentor is invaluable for those looking to enhance specific competencies, whether technical, creative, or strategic. They not only teach the technical aspects of their expertise but also share wisdom on applying these skills in real-world scenarios. Through one-on-one meetings, personalized feedback, and challenging assignments, the Skill Master helps mentees refine their abilities and achieve mastery in their chosen area.

Money-minded Mentor

The Money-minded Mentor specializes in financial wisdom, guiding mentees through the complexities of financial planning, investment strategies, and economic understanding relevant to personal and professional growth. This mentor helps mentees develop a strong financial acumen, advising on budgeting, investing, and navigating financial markets or business financial strategies. They are particularly beneficial for those looking to secure their financial future, optimize earnings from their career or business ventures, and make informed financial decisions.

The Industry Mentor

An Industry Mentor boasts extensive experience and a broad network within a specific industry, offering insights into industry trends, challenges, and opportunities. This mentor can guide mentees on navigating their career paths, understanding industry dynamics, and seizing opportunities for advancement. Through sharing their comprehensive knowledge and connections, the Industry Mentor helps mentees gain a strategic understanding of the industry landscape, including key players, potential threats, and emerging innovations, thereby positioning them for success in their field.

The Network Mentor

The Network Mentor excels in connecting people and is a master of building and maintaining professional relationships. This mentor helps mentees expand their professional network by introducing them to influential figures, peers, and opportunities within and beyond their industry. With a focus on the importance of networking for career development, the Network Mentor advises on networking strategies, personal branding, and effective communication skills to build meaningful professional relationships. They emphasize the value of a strong network as a resource for opportunities, support, and mentorship throughout one’s career.

The Influential Ally

An influential ally is someone in a position of power who can advocate for you and open doors. In the Harry Potter series, Albus Dumbledore serves as an influential ally to Harry, using his position to support and protect him throughout his time at Hogwarts. Dumbledore’s influence and advocacy are instrumental in Harry’s journey, providing him with opportunities and protection in the wizarding world.

Peer Mentor

A peer mentor is someone at your own level who shares knowledge and experiences, often growing alongside you. In the series “Parks and Recreation,” Leslie Knope and Ann Perkins offer a perfect example of peer mentorship. They support each other’s careers and personal growth, despite being in different professions, through shared experiences and mutual encouragement.

mentoring women in business

In Conclusion

These seven types of mentors can significantly influence personal and professional development, and their dynamics are often represented in pop culture, providing viewers with examples of how mentorship can shape one’s journey. Whether in the office or on the silver screen, mentors come in various forms, each offering unique support and guidance.

This guest post was authored by Janice Omadeke

Janice Omadeke created The Mentor Method, an enterprise software that transforms company culture through mentorship and is author of Mentorship Unlocked: The Science and Art of Setting Yourself Up for Success. She was named one of Entrepreneur Magazine’s 100 Women of Influence in 2022 for her accomplishments. 

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Ms. Career Girl strives to provide valuable insights you can use. To see more from our columnists and guest authors, check these outOr subscribe to our weekly email featuring our latest articles. We’re also present on Medium!

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