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Do you really need a mentor?

/ Oct 30, 2012 6:30AM / Print / () / BUILDER

Do you really need a mentor?

There is a growing number of organisations and networking groups in Australia that are making it easier than ever for professionals to establish and maintain a mentoring relationship – many of which charge a fee for their services.

Mentoring is receiving more and more attention, with many of the mentoring and networking groups attesting to the numerous benefits, but do you really need a mentor to succeed in business?

While you might already be thriving in your current role and climbing the career ladder at lightning speed, a mentor can add significant value beyond your everyday job. Although a mentor may not be the sole catalyst for every person's career progression or success, those without one are missing out on a number of benefits and the potential to achieve more.

"Everyone needs a mentor at some stage in their life. Mentoring varies as career direction changes and self confidence increases," says Lynette Palmen AM, the founder of Women's Network Australia, adding that unlike coaching, which is task-oriented, mentoring is relationship-oriented and more about developing self-confidence and achieving a work/life balance over the long term.

According to the managing director of Network Central, Kim McGuinness, women can benefit immensely from mentoring in terms of the confidence a mentor can provide the mentee.

"Often the mentor can see what the mentee doesn't. They can spot strengths that the mentee doesn't notice. A mentor can also encourage the mentee and give them confidence to apply for roles and projects that they may not have had the confidence for before having a mentor," she says.

McGuinness adds that mentoring can be particularly beneficial for women as they often face more barriers than men, are balancing competing priorities, gender stereotyping and unconscious bias, and have less exposure to senior management.

"Having a mentor allows a woman to build confidence, learn new skills, brainstorm ideas and build stronger networks," she says. "A mentor can also help with understanding corporate politics and protocol."

What do you think? Are mentors necessary for women looking to get ahead? Leave your thoughts below.

And if you're convinced, find out how to get a mentor.

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