The More Mentors, The Merrier
Variety, as we know, is the spice of life. At times, however, professionals cling to the opinion of a sole mentor, one from their workplace or field that they believe can provide the definitive feedback they need to hear. But is a singular mentor enough to handle all of your career or life concerns?
When a concern arises in your current workplace, one you can't quite approach your manager to discuss, who do you turn to for support and advice? How about when you are considering attending grad school but want to discuss how it fits into your future plans? What about if you need some help maximizing aspects of your personal life as well?
Oftentimes, professionals treat their friendships and mentorships as if they are a monogamous relationship, something beneficial only if limited to the two. However, as times change and industries across sectors progress, the questions you have may no longer be answerable by a single source, regardless of how well they know you or the field.
1. Assemble Your Personal Advisory Board
Life, as we know, consists of a lot more than your day job, even if it is your passion and purpose. We all have to go home at the end of the business day, and once there, we tend to encounter additional obstacles that we’d like advice on solving. But who do we go to for these types of concerns?
In a sense, having multiple mentors is like assembling your personal advisory board. You want to make sure all aspects of your life are well represented on the board, so your bottom line isn’t the only matter you’re being advised on. Too great a focus on solely the professional can lead you to seek advice on what feels like imbalanced life—your personal life matters just as much as your current profession.
If you have multiple mentors, especially if you have a blend of those you know from inside and outside of a professional environment, you can seek a sounding board in your mentor for problems extending beyond the workplace. This way you can ensure that the steps you make are in your best interest.
2. Receive Well-Rounded Feedback
By having multiple mentors and being able to receive advice on all aspects of your life, you can feel confident that your decisions weren’t made in a bubble, so they ultimately provide you with the most advantageous next steps to take.
For instance, students in Santa Clara University’s Online MBA program are granted the opportunity to mentor within their cohorts, which allows students to network with connections outside of their current industries and learn from the diverse experiences of their peers.
Because those in your cohort likely aim to become the next generation of business leaders, you know the value they can bring to your personal advisory board.
Similar to collaboration in the workplace, by bringing several unique opinions together on one matter, you ensure you’re hearing about potential issues you may not have considered and are introduced to unique perspectives that help you make the best decisions for you and your end goals.
3. Get the Help You Need When You Need It
Even if you have an easily accessible mentor, there may come a point when your mentor isn’t able to provide you advice in the instance you need it. Don’t panic—that’s one of the key benefits of having multiple mentors you trust and whose feedback you value.
If you can’t get a hold of your first choice for feedback in the moment, you always have additional resources to reach out to for support.
4. Increase Your Network, Increase Your Opportunities
Not only does having more than one mentor mean you’ve gained access to them as a connection, you gain access to their professional network as well. They can observe opportunities that might be a good fit for you and put you in touch with their colleagues, potentially leading to future opportunities and new professional relationships.
Similarly, if they participate in a professional event or gathering, they can easily invite you along to advance your professional development, which also helps connect you to others. In short, the more people you have looking out for you, the better!
Ready to Go Forth and Network?
Now that you know the value of having several mentors, you might have a few in mind you’d like to reach out to. Remember to reflect on who might make the strongest choice for a mentor before you commit to a mentorship with someone, and don’t take it the wrong way if someone is unable to be your mentor.
Similarly, Santa Clara University’s Online MBA program has a faculty of industry leaders with expertise ranging across many interdisciplinary fields such as marketing, management, entrepreneurship, and more. Faculty can often make strong mentors for current students and alumni, because professors usually have a blend of industry and academic experience and are happy to help you learn to navigate the workplace as you gain new skills.
As you grow your mentorship network, you’ll find yourself feeling more confident about the decisions you make both in your personal life and your professional role.
A great way to expand your coterie of mentors is to consider the strength of a friend-turned-mentor, or a “friendtor.” Read more about this unique personal and professional relationship in our blog post here.