Why You Need a Mentor

I used to think all clown fish were cute, rotund orange and white fish like little Nemo in the movie that bears his name. Then we took our top Philippines recruiters scuba diving as a reward for their great performance, and I met Daniel, the marine biologist who works for Atmosphere Resorts, an intimate resort nestled into the coast of Negros Island.

As our dive boat zoomed toward a tiny little island in the distance, Daniel shared his love and knowledge of some of the kinds of creatures we might soon be seeing. For instance, we learned that there are a couple of different kinds of sea snakes (yuck!), one poisonous, another benign. And we learned the true story of clown fish, quite different from the movie version! As it turns out, multiple clown fish often live in a single anemone. The smaller ones are all males, Daniel told us, but as one grows much larger, it changes into a fierce female and becomes the protector and mommy, the breeder in that anemone. Daniel shared that his fingers have bled from being nipped while trying to photograph these symbiotic, matriarchal little monsters. As we dove, I was extra careful to keep my fingers to myself!

Sure enough, in several larger anemones, I saw two or sometimes even four orange and white, pudgy little Nemos. But in each of those same waving anemones was also a larger, reddish, flatter fish with a horizontal black stripe that I didn’t recognize, until I realized that it was that mommy fish–and yes, she was armed with sharp, little teeth and the willingness to use them! Had Daniel not described her beforehand to us, I wouldn’t have known what I was seeing.

I also might have never made it back to our boat had it not been for our dive master, Richard. Using sign language and his underwater tablet, Richard guided us through the wonders of the reef. In the hilly terrain off the coast of Apo Island, we immediately lost sight of our boat. Thankfully, Richard had been there countless times, and he routed us to the best creature habitats, under a dark overhang, and onto the side of a colorful wall that plunged into the depths below. He not only knew just where we were every second but also kept time on his watch, helped me equalize repeatedly, and regularly checked our gauges so that we safely returned to the boat, bursting to share about the wonderful creatures we’d observed.

As you may have guessed, managing your career in the workplace is a lot like scuba diving, which is why you need a mentor. Having a guide to help you navigate the waters of places you’ve never been before can make or break your on-the-job experience and keep your career on track. With the input of a mentor, you can learn how to set goals that matter to both you and your organization, shape your career, manage relationships, and reach the goals you have set.

Who should you pick for a mentor? Some companies may assign one to you, which can be very helpful. But if it’s up to you, here are some qualities to look for in a mentor, says Scott Kuethen, our CEO:

  • humility
  • experience
  • wisdom
  • availability
  • a desire to help others succeed by passing on his or her knowledge

Jeff Goins suggest 10 steps for how to find a mentor. Here they are in a nutshell, but I’d highly recommend that you read his entire article here:

  1. Find someone you want to be like.
  2. Study the person.
  3. Ask for an initial meeting.
  4. Evaluate the fruit.
  5. Follow up after the meeting.
  6. Let the relationship evolve organically.
  7. Don’t check out when you feel challenged.
  8. Press into relationship.
  9. Ask your mentor for feedback.
  10. Commit to the process.

Whether you’re starting out in a new job or you’ve been on the job or even running a business for some time, you can see why you need a mentor. It’s invaluable to get guidance from an objective role model who has your best interest at heart, who is humble enough to admit they don’t know everything but smart enough to give you informed advice, and who can hold you accountable. If you don’t yet have a mentor, now would be a great time to start looking.  And if you fit the qualifications listed above, maybe it’s time for you to share your insights and begin mentoring someone else. Mentoring benefits everyone!

For more about mentoring, read this book review by our wise friend and a mentor himself, Jeff Abbott, on the book Connecting: The Mentoring Relationships You Need to Succeed in Life by Paul Stanley and Robert Clinton. If you’re serious about finding a mentor, check out MicroMentor.org, a free mentoring social network.

Amtec actively serves customers all over the United States who seek top professionals with well-rounded skills. Candidates, if we don’t have the most current version of your resume, please click here to post it, and visit our job board while you’re at it! You or a friend might be a good fit for one of our open positions. Employers, do you need help sourcing and selecting top professionals? Click here or call (714) 993-1900 to request an employee or discuss a workforce management issue.

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