Everyone who says, "I achieved everything alone, no one helped me," is seriously mistaken. Pause for a moment and remember that one person who, at one point in your life, has helped you achieve your personal or professional goals.

Even those who are having a hard time remembering ever having a mentor, certainly had one in their life. Think about your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, teachers or some other special person in your life who has provided shelter, security, education, mental support, life knowledge. Yes, enabling someone to achieve something by providing them with certain things is mentoring as well.

Did you know that Homo Sapiens is one of the human species that has walked the planet Earth, but the only one that has survived so far? And do you know what set us apart (when it comes to the important things) in the evolutionary race against time so that we still walk this planet today?

Ability to associate and communicate, and thus transfer and increase collective knowledge.

Although there are still debates in scientific circles on this topic, homo sapiens likely conquered the world thanks to its unique language. (Read: Sapiens, A Brief History of Mankind, if you don't believe me). 😉 We are just social beings, we like to talk and share ideas with others. Our brain has evolutionarily specially created neurons - mirrors (google: "mirror neurons"). They serve to closely monitor what the person you are paying attention to is doing and to copy - harmonize your and her behavior. We are "wired to connect", as D. Goleman said brilliantly in his book "Social Intelligence". Our emotions are contagious, it’s the way we connect, brain to brain… and we all learn from each other, we’re all mentors.

Thus, from associating, connecting, communicating and socializing, or chatting, we naturally come to mentoring and/or training. It has always been the basic and for a long time the only reliable way of transferring knowledge, from the older to the younger generations. From the older, wiser, to the younger, stronger, on whom the world remains. Mentoring is a continuous activity that takes place whenever a need or opportunity arises. Take every chance - when someone asks for your mentoring help, meet them.

Today, we have complicated it a lot, like everything. Mentoring can take many different forms, from just one conversation for quick counseling to continuous deliberation that lasts for weeks and months. It can be formal or informal. It can be directive or support-based mentoring. There are various tools and techniques. Today we have a book for everything from manuals on how to fly a plane to mentoring techniques…

We have complicated everything, which is good, because we are growing and developing, as individuals and as a society, but the essence remains the same…

How to choose a mentor?

Think strategically about what you need to learn, choosing the right mentor can be one of the most important decisions in your career. Working with a mentor can increase your chances of success at work, but that does not mean that every person can be your mentor. Give yourself time to think about how willing you and your mentor are to commit. Think about what skills you currently need to progress. What exactly do you need from a mentor?

The mentor does not have to be someone much older or in a senior position, it can be any age, from any field, from any position. A mentor can be a person whose success, professional, or life you admire and who you think could be a good guide.

For starters, think about the qualities that a mentor should have. You are looking for the following qualities: empathy, honesty and good communication skills thinking outside the box and thinking outside the box, commitment to lifelong learning. Ask yourself, do you share common views of the world and you’ll see how difficult it is to find someone with whom you completely agree, but also, you will find it very difficult to work with someone with whom you have opposite views and expectations.

Good mentor

… Is a wide-open mind, free-minded, someone who is encouraging and has a rich experience to provide.

… Should be a good listener. The mentor should not impose his opinion on you. Instead, it should help/encourage you to come up with your answers by insight. You don't need someone to just talk to. A good mentor will guide you, inspire you, criticize you - yes, but do not judge. Exchange ideas, but they won't do it for you.

… Should “challenge” you. A good mentor will encourage you to step out of your comfort zone. You will not learn anything new unless your mentor directs you to look at things from a different - new - perspective. Anyone looking for a mentor must understand the difference between someone who teaches you by deliberately “challenging” when necessary, instead of just rejecting ideas as not good enough.

… Long-term observation of your professional growth and development, helps you see the goal but does not give you a detailed map of how to get there. It encourages and encourages, but does not tell you how to do something.

Make a list of a couple of potential mentors, because it is possible that someone who is your first choice will not be able to dedicate himself to you at the moment when it suits you.

The mentor also gets something in return through mentoring with you. Some obvious benefits are getting an adequate successor (succession planning), a new associate who can be part of the future management of the company, or a new business partner. Successful mentoring is a two-way street in which the mentor learns new things, such as insights into new forms of learning and development that were not available before.

Dynamics of mentoring

When you find a mentor and establish a relationship, be sure to take the time to talk and compare your expectations. Clarify each person's responsibilities and define the channels you will use to communicate, discuss your career goals.

To organize your mentoring well:

Define in advance the career goals you have, for example: to learn some specific procedures, processes, preparation for starting work or promotion.

Arrange regular meetings with your mentor and stick to them, once you have established them.

Talk to your mentor about how you can best measure the success and effectiveness of your work together.

Commit to certain steps in your development plan and write down the essential elements of your discussions with the mentor so that you can return to them later and implement them.

Focus on learning and be open to receiving feedback from your mentor (positive and constructive).

Don't be afraid to seek honest, specific advice or criticism.

Practice your active listening skills and use everything you can from what is offered.

Just as a mentor invests his or her time to help you, you must participate and actively learn.

Be curious, responsible, well organized, efficient and involved, engaged - active.

Let your goal be to get the most out of this experience.

Mentorship in SmartCat

We believe that knowledge is power and that means for us that:

  • You share what you’ve learned and how you applied it
  • You exit your comfort zone to learn something new
  • You prioritize results over process
  • You let people know what needs to be done, not how to do it - coach, not boss around
  • You learn, improve, measure, repeat

For the end…

You can have a mentor, or be a mentor, or even be your mentor… Sometimes we are in a hurry, in a hurry, something urgently needs to be done… don't be discouraged, be your mentor, pat yourself positively and with a smile on your shoulder and say "You did a great job." And believe me, everyone will notice… eventually 😉

Through various mentoring programs, companies affirm the need for mutual training and knowledge sharing, but what is important is to be a team, to share our experiences and good practices. That we never stop learning and transferring knowledge, because that is the only way to ensure an innovative and responsible transition to a new age and business in the knowledge society.

Mentoring is an important component not only of every organization but an integrative element of the progress of every society. Leaders are not born - they are created. Every successful person - every leader - has at least one mentor behind them who has done a serious job. No one got anywhere alone, without people.

Mentoring - it is mutual giving and everyone learns something in the process, both student and mentor…

Never think that because you are not the loudest person in the room - you are not good enough. Or if you think you don't know something well enough, to stop you from asking… There is a mentor for each of us and in each of us. And there are no good or bad, you are all needed, just the way you are, both loud and quiet because everyone carries a special energy, which we need to move forward.

Because the future begins with you.