Mentorship is one of the best ways for newcomers to learn how to chart the course of their careers in a new country. It provides a unique opportunity to gain knowledge about your profession from someone with firsthand experience. The following video features notable Canadians discussing the value of a mentor (especially for young people):
What is a mentor?
Simply put, a mentor is a guide or teacher who shares their experience to help a mentee who is just starting out in the same career. These professionals can offer help on anything from formulating your career plan to practical advice on various job situations.
Mentorship requires relationship-building. In her study, Dr. Sharon Strauss, researcher at St. Michael’s Hospital (Toronto, Ontario), lists five key ingredients necessary for a successful mentoring relationship: reciprocity, mutual respect, clear expectations, personal connections and shared values. (What makes a good mentor and mentee? Science Daily).
Mentoring can be formal or informal. In formal programs, you meet with your mentor regularly, based on a set schedule and duration. Informal mentoring however, happen only when needed. It can be very casual and flexible. Most mentorships happen face-to-face. But nowadays, with computer technology, you can meet remotely using various apps like Skype and FaceTime. Some also do it by email, phone, text, or direct messaging. Whatever type of mentorship you’re in, make sure to set objectives and goals at the start to make the most out of the experience.
How to find a mentor:
- Explore mentoring programs in Manitoba (see Community Resources below);
- Seek out a mentor directly by writing, or emailing your prospect. Make sure that you introduce yourself first and explain your request clearly.
- Ask a mutual friend or acquaintance for a referral. Having a friend introduce you to a willing mentor is less daunting than making a cold call.
Read “How do I ask someone to be my mentor?” by Alan Henry (Ask Lifehacker) for more tips on searching for the right person and asking them properly.
Benefits of having a mentor:
Aside from career guidance, mentoring relationships also provide motivation. Good mentors share wisdom and concrete examples that can inspire you to succeed, just like they did.
Generous mentors can also open doors to opportunities for you. They can get you connected with the best people to further your career. However, don’t expect, or worse, ask, for professional favors or connections from your mentor. Remember that your main objective is learning from their expertise, not taking advantage of their kindness. Always keep in mind that respect is the most important ingredient in a mentoring relationship.
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1. Select the statements that accurately describe what a mentor is.CorrectIncorrect
2. What does it mean to “chart a course”?CorrectIncorrect
3. What is another word for “reciprocity”?CorrectIncorrect
4. According to Dr. Sharon Strauss, the elements needed for a successful mentoring relationship is:CorrectIncorrect
5. You must meet your mentor at least once a week for the mentorship to be successful.CorrectIncorrect
6. What are some ways of finding a mentor?CorrectIncorrect
7. What is another word for “daunting”?CorrectIncorrect
8. Apart from guiding you in career planning, a mentor may also:CorrectIncorrect
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