Do you have a mentor? Are you a mentor? Do you even know what a mentor really is?

Every successful person in the world has had someone show them the ropes along their way to success at some point. In fact, a survey from the Association of Talent Development (ATD) found that 75% of private-sector executives credit their mentors for where they are now in their careers. The survey also showed that 71% of Fortune 500 companies use mentoring programs to help train new employees and develop new leaders. So it must be important, right?

As new professionals, we have much to learn. So why is it then that most of us don’t actively pursue a mentor to help advance our professional careers?

The benefits are clear for both the mentor and protégé – the most obvious being personal and professional growth. However, there are other advantages including the development of leadership skills, getting access to a larger professional network through the mentor, and being exposed to new perspectives.

It is up to you and the other person as to how formal or informal you want the mentor relationship to be but being clear and deliberate about your goals for the relationship and what you want to achieve is imperative for a successful mentorship.

When looking for a mentor, you’ll want to find someone who not only knows what you want to know but is also willing to take time to guide you. Hopefully you also chose someone who you get along with since you will be spending some time together.

On the other side, as new professionals, we also have much to contribute. Just because we’re ‘new’ or young doesn’t preclude us from being able to act as a mentor to others. If you consider that we’re all on a spectrum of knowledge and that on one side of us are people with more knowledge and on the other side are people with less, we will always be in a position to learn from those ahead of us while contributing to the growth of those behind us.  This is how we as a profession can become stronger.

So how do you get started? Perhaps you already have someone in mind and just haven’t taken that first step to ask. Maybe you don’t think you know anyone who would be willing to be a mentor. Luckily, audiology has many willing mentors out there ready to pass their knowledge along.  If you need more help, there are hundreds of books on the subject to help you find your path. The key is to just get started.

If you’re interested in being a part of a mentor program, the Academy recently launched a Peer-to-Peer Mentoring CEU Program. Contact Katy Sidwell for more information.

Find a mentor, be a mentor, and find success.