John C. Maxwell said, “One of the greatest values of mentors is the ability to see ahead what others cannot see and to help them navigate a course to their destination.” If you are just starting in any career or business, consider choosing a mentor who has excelled in that field.
A successful mentor can prevent you from making mistakes and guide you to reach your goals. He also can share valuable advice that keeps you on the right track to excel in your chosen field. However, problems arise for mentees when they are ignorant of the factors to consider when choosing a mentor.
For example, Sola’s dream career is to become a teacher. He loves the method Mr. Adewale, his teacher, applies to teach in class. Because Mr. Adewale has been a teacher for ten years, he wants him to become his mentor. But Sola discovers that Mr. Adewale does not have the time to sit him down and guide him to become a good teacher. It appears that Sola does not know that willingness is one of the factors to consider when choosing a mentor.
In this post, we have highlighted the factors to consider when choosing a mentor. But before we proceed to that, let’s know what a mentor is.
Who is a Mentor?
According to the Oxford dictionary, A mentor is an experienced person who advises and helps somebody with less experience over some time.
Mentors serve as shortcuts to success in any field because they have recorded the same feat in the same area. They have attractive personalities that influence you to follow in their footsteps and excel in your career.
You are always happy to consume their teachings and learn from their mistakes. However, your mentor doesn’t have to be a celebrity or a motivational speaker. When choosing a mentor, consider your manager, an experienced co-worker, or a professional in your network.
6 Factors to Consider When Choosing A Mentor in Nigeria
One of the factors to consider when choosing a mentor is personality. The Oxford dictionary defines personality as the various aspects of a person that make them different from other people.
Successful mentors must have a track of integrity, sincerity, and discipline. Their personal life must inspire and keep you on the right track to attain your goals. However, your mentor’s personality can positively or negatively influence your life.
So before you choose a mentor, ask yourself these questions: does their personality conflict with mine? Can their personality change my life positively? Can their personality make me excel in my career path?
You need to ask these questions because your mentor’s public image influences public views about you.
Another factor to consider when choosing a mentor is values. Everyone has their values, so check if the person’s values and beliefs align with yours. Is he a person who puts family before work? Or a person who believes in balancing work and life?
Write your values down so that you can have a good relationship with the person. Moreover, don’t compromise your value lest it leads to you being unhappy and frustrated.
Finding a mentor is not enough. Does he have time for you? Is he willing to guide and put you on the right track? Do they share valuable advice with you? You need to ask these questions because you cannot force a person to attend to you.
For example, Janet admires her boss’ personality. She loves the way her boss is disciplined and hardworking. For this reason, she wants her boss to be her mentor. But the latter is too busy to attend to her.
Another example to illustrate this point is when a guy finds a lady attractive and wants her to marry him. Will he force her to accept his proposal?
It is the same when it comes to choosing a mentor. To choose a mentor, find out if they are always willing to share their personal experience for you to learn from. If he is always willing to help you, ask him when he’ll be available and invite him to your place. Then ask questions bothering you, and he’ll be ready to answer them all.
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Before you choose a mentor, what are your expectations from the relationship you want to form with your mentor? What are the lessons you aim to derive from your mentor’s life in his chosen field?
After you’ve clearly outlined your goals, you can direct all of your questions to those areas when you meet potential mentors.
Communication is a vital factor to consider when choosing a mentor. You should know if your prospective mentor is an outspoken person based on how they interact with co-workers. The reason is that most people might have a success story that attracts you but lack communication skills. If your potential mentor is engaging and lively, reaching out to seek guidance to excel won’t be difficult.
However, this also applies to you. If you’re an introvert or quiet or timid, a potential mentor might find it boring to discuss with you.
Read also: Interpersonal skills for career development in Nigeria
Choosing a mentor who is not an expert in your field can affect your career. A mentor who is an expert in the same field can share the challenges he encountered before becoming an expert.
For example, suppose James wants to become a lawyer. In that case, he must find a person who is an expert in the legal profession, not a mediocrity that will only lead him astray. So if you are transitioning into a new field, find a mentor who has achieved success in it.
It is possible to have a mentor who is not an expert in your field and still provides excellent guidance. The rule of thumb is to find a mentor who is not only an expert but also well-respected, so you’ll be able to associate your name with such a person.
6 Different Types of Mentors You Should Know When Choosing A Mentor in Nigeria
Advisors are successful mentors who have more in-depth knowledge in their chosen field. They give advice based on their professional expertise and share their personal experiences to encourage you to achieve the same feat. Choosing a mentor from this category only benefits people that have their dream job but are still feeling unqualified for some reason.
Protectors are supportive mentors that create a safe environment for their mentees to avoid steps that could be detrimental or cause havoc to their careers. They help their mentees by making sure they grow more and overcome every challenge that might halt their dreams.
Developers are mentors that are more or less like a coach. They build their mentees to handle their problems independently. They are also great listeners who pay undivided attention to the problems of their mentees. Additionally, they tend to commend their mentees if they discover positive attributes like honesty or critical thinking.
These kinds of mentors are great at connecting their mentees with growth opportunities. Instead of discussing possibilities for growth, brokers discern what their mentees want to learn and connect them with a professional in that field. If your goal is to grow and explore, choose a mentor with the broker attribute.
Read also: Easy ways to find a good job in Nigeria
As the developer, affirmers are great listeners who serve as shoulders for their mentees to rely on when faced with a difficult situation. They give their mentees unwavering support and build them to solve problems independently. If you need psychological and emotional guidance, choose a mentor that is either a developer or an affirmer.
Sponsors are ‘connective’ mentors who help their mentees meet people who will significantly impact their careers. These mentors have huge networks and credibility. And their mentees succeed faster when they have their (mentors’) recommendation. Most business-related mentors fall in this category. So, if you need business guidance for growth and expansion, choose a mentor with a sponsor attribute.
Read also: How to get your dream job in Nigeria
4 Different Types of Mentoring Programmes for Nigerians
Traditional or one-on-one mentoring
Traditional or one-on-one mentoring closely matches the idea associated with mentorship. It’s a type of mentoring where a senior or an older person mentors the mentee in person. This person has more experience and is willing to guide you in the field. It’s by far the best kind of mentorship because there’ll be physical interaction.
Distance Mentoring is also known as “virtual mentoring.” It’s a kind of mentorship where the mentor and the mentee are in two different locations. And they can only reach themselves through social media or video apps.
This is a mentoring style where the mentor is matched with a group of mentees. They occasionally create programs where the mentor speaks and gives room for mentees to ask questions.
This is the opposite of traditional or one-on-one mentoring. In this case, a young but senior person mentors an older but junior worker in an organization.
Choosing a mentor is not a huge or complicated task. Just be on the lookout for a successful mentor who is willing to help you reach your goals and become the best version of yourself. Work with one, and you will find the experience rewarding!
Have you ever had a mentor? Is it an experience you’d like to share? Feel free to join Insight’s WhatsApp community for the best and most insightful conversations.
Olasubomi Samuel Kolawole is an SEO content writer who is passionate about helping brands and e-commerce business owners increase their web traffic by creating quality, engaging, and SEO-optimized content.
He is currently pursuing a degree in Dramatic Arts at the Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, Nigeria.