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CAREER

4 Reasons You Need a Mentor for Your Career

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• How does getting a mentor take your career to the next level? Joey Li shares her experience as a mentee at the Taikoo WIN Mentoring Programme for Senior Women.

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No matter how experienced you are, there’s always something you can learn from others. It’s especially true when you’re trying to break the career bottleneck or facing a hurdle, as a mentor can offer valuable advice and guide you through different professional challenges.

“But it’s so much more than just having someone there to tell you what to do,” says Joey Li, Client Engagement Manager at Chanel and a mentee at the Taikoo WIN Mentoring Programme for Senior Women, which launched earlier this year. “For me, it’s an empowering experience that inspires me to continue to improve.” So, how exactly does having a mentor get you to the next level in your career?

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1. You gain a trusted ally.

It can be hard to get honest feedback in your daily life as everyone has a particular role to play in your relationships. In this case, a mentor can be your trusted advisor as an objective third-party. “Since there’s no conflict of interest between me and my mentor, we can trust each other to build a transparent relationship together,” says Li. It’s also nice to know that there’s someone you can go to for guidance when you encounter problems, especially those that you don’t feel comfortable sharing with others. “It’s a kind of moral support,” she adds. “Instead of facing them alone, your mentor is there to listen to and walk with you through the challenges.”

2. You discover your blind spots.

We all have blind spots – aspects of ourselves that we aren’t aware of, which can be our habits or instinctive reactions to specific situations. Since we don’t “see” them ourselves, a mentor can help us identify these areas and see them from a different perspective. “I, for example, was frustrated that people weren’t supportive when I tried something new at work. They associated me with a certain stereotype and thought I shouldn’t change,” Li shares. “What I didn’t see was that I was also projecting myself as such, through how I spoke and behaved. When my mentor shared her observation with me, it felt like the fog had lifted and I found a new direction to work on myself.”

3. You are empowered to grow.

Life is full of different kinds of struggles; having a mentor reminds you that someone else has already been through these challenges and there’s always room for growth. “I have worked for 18 years already, but as a very senior leader at a big advertising company, my mentor is even more experienced than I am,” says Li. “It’s not easy to be a working woman, especially in her industry. Her journey gave me the courage to face any obstacles that would come my way in the future, as I know she has overcome even greater difficulties.”

4. You get an enriching experience.

One thing all successful mentoring relationships have in common is that they’re mutually beneficial – both the mentor and the mentee give and take something out of the experience. In Li’s case, she contributes to their shared journey by doing three things. “First, I always prepare an agenda so there’s always an intention driving our session. But as our discussion develops, I tend to stay open-minded and go with the flow. After each session, I create a summary to remember the key takeaways. This way, my mentor isn’t the only one guiding our conversations,” she shares. “I believe your mentoring experience is how you make it to be – ours has certainly been an enriching one!”

The Taikoo Women’s Inspire Network (Taikoo WIN) will launch a new edition of their mentorship programme in early 2022 – stay tuned!

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