The Power of Mentorship on the Path to Success

Perhaps the best way to learn is to take advantage of the experience and knowledge of those who have already done what we are trying to do. When we are in school, we are often willing to accept the value of a teacher’s guidance. However, we are not always as willing to acknowledge the value of help from an expert who can improve our lives outside the classroom. So why is that?

There seems to be a selective social blindness to the benefits of having a mentor or a coach. In some fields coaches are seen as essential. Have you ever met a star athlete who does not have a coach? I highly doubt it. So why does mentorship make sense for a pro-golfer and not an aspiring musician or entrepreneur?

Mentors are leaders with whom we establish personal relationships in order to benefit from their experience. These individuals can help us perform better in our careers and become more confident and engaged citizens in our communities.

Mentorship takes many different forms. One-on-one social mentoring programs focus on guiding young people who might not otherwise get the benefit of a strong and positive adult role model. Post-secondary academic and arts programs often connect students with mentors who provide professional insight into the career path the student is considering. This may be through a speaker series at the school or more formalized mentorship programs where students shadow a professional in their chosen career path for several weeks/months.

Then there are coaching companies whose focus is providing fee for service mentorship. This could include audition coaching for aspiring actors who want to land their next big role. Or, business owners who learn from successful entrepreneurs about how to make their first million!

No matter what the context, mentorship is all about passing on the hard-won wisdom of a leader who has already seen and overcome the challenges that the mentee is facing.

I have personally participated in mentorship through a coaching company. I can say without hesitation that it was the best decision I ever made. It catapulted my career to the next level and helped me realize my goals.

My coaches gave me insight into my businesses that I never saw before. I couldn’t see the whole picture because I was stuck inside the frame. As the well-known saying goes, we often do not see the forest for the trees. Through my own experiences being coached, I realized that sometimes we are so caught up in our daily activities that we need someone to look at the whole from the outside to help us see the direction we need to take.

I certainly never would have written a book and been published in The Washington Post had it not been for the advice and education I received from my coaches.