With so much talk on personal/professional development, does everyone really need a mentor?
No, I don’t think everyone does.
You probably don’t need a mentor if:
You have a stable job, plan to stay there forever, and nothing ever changes.
You don’t want to improve anything.
You already know everything (nothing new under the sun, right?)
You have no bucket list.
You feel that all feedback is a personal attack.
However, if there is a chance you might need to make a change, want to improve something, or aspire to do more, and have been disappointed in the past with a top-down mentoring model, here are a couple of non-traditional recommendations.
Sarah Friar, CFO at Square, recommends a personal board of directors. Four people to be exact.
- Someone you work with as both a colleague and role model.
- Someone you aspire to be.
- A mentor from a previous life.
- A person not senior to you, maybe a child.
James Altucher, investor and author, writes that the best way to learn and grow is to find a plus, an equal and a minus. A Plus is a real or virtual mentor who can teach you, an Equal is a person who can challenge you, and a Minus is someone you can teach and help you learn at a deeper level.
Personally, I use a board of director approach and wrote about it here (link). Specifically, this has helped me learn to handle criticism, speak in public, give better feedback to senior management, and write more clearly (I’m still trying).
How about you? Is there an area or two you’d like to improve? Would a personal board of directors help you?