Why Everyone Needs a Mentor!

Blog Feature Mentor

Stephanie Nordhoff, Project Manager

Mentors aren’t just for work. Mentors aren’t just for education. Mentors aren’t just for adults. With every twist and turn of my life’s journey, there has been a mentor helping to guide me along the way. At The Bowen Group, we are not only committed to improving the health and wellness of service members, Veterans and their families, but also that of our employees. We have created a culture of mentorship and self-improvement within our company that extends from professional development and educational growth to personal health and wellness. This culture translates into continued improvement of company-wide collaboration, creativity, productivity and perfected end products for our customers.   

There was a time, not so long ago, when I decided to work on my own personal health and wellness. Crazy as it may sound, I was thinking about taking the P90X challenge. I found someone within our company that had done it and she was able to mentor me through each grueling day, encouraging me every one of those 90 days. As I crossed off the last day, I realized I could not have done it without the support of my mentor. January is National Mentoring Month. Do you have a mentor? Are you a mentor to someone? If not what’s stopping you?

“Mentoring is to support and encourage people to manage their own learning in order that they may maximize their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance and become the person they want to be.” —Eric Parsloe, the Oxford School of Coaching and Mentoring

Think about it. For most of us, our first experience with a mentor was with our parents. You had a mentor and didn’t even know it! Their job was to teach us, help us develop skills and encourage us to be the person they knew we could be … even if we, ourselves, didn’t know who that was yet. Parents, however, can only take us so far. At some point, we need to increase our mentor “bench” by connecting with new people who offer knowledge and experience in areas that we wish to explore further. That could be professionally, intellectually or even personally. At The Bowen Group, we pride ourselves in not only figuring out what our employees are good at and capitalizing on those skills, but also in finding out what our employees would like to do and providing them with mentorship in that area. 

If you are still asking yourself why you need a mentor, consider the following five reasons. There is always someone out there who:

  • Experienced more in life and knows more than you do. Learn from them.
  • Achieved something you want to achieve. Find out how they did it.
  • Networked and knows the people you want to know. Get introductions from them.
  • Walked in your shoes. Let them pave the way.
  • Worked with a mentor and is looking to give back. Let them be your advocate.

The impact of having a mentor cannot be overstated as the following data from DegreeSearch.org shows.

Now that you know why you need a mentor and the value of having a mentor, how should you go about getting one? It’s not as hard as you think. Take steps to find the right mentor, including the following:

Determine what you want to achieve. Is it help with navigating your career path? Are you interested in professional development for your current job? Are you looking to go back to school? Think about what you want and write down your goals and objectives.

Think about who can best help you meet your goals and objectives. A mentor doesn't have to be someone you already work with. Perhaps you attended a conference and found one of the speakers to be particularly compelling. Or maybe you read an article that really struck a chord. Be prepared to look "outside the box," so to speak.

Make contact. Once you have figured out who you would like to mentor you in a particular area, set up a meeting. That could be in person or virtually. Whatever is most convenient to your potential mentor.

Respect everyone’s time. Make sure you are clear on what you are looking to achieve. That is where those goals and objectives come into play. Work with your mentor to develop a meeting routine that works for both of you.

On this mentoring day, Jan. 17, 2018, take time to reflect on your goals. What are you hoping to achieve this year? Once you have done that, figure out if you have the mentor “bench” in place to help you get there. If you don’t, go build it. And don’t be surprised if someone determines that you are the mentor they need to help them achieve their goals this year. Remember, whether you are the mentee or the mentor, a mentoring relationship is a two-way street that everyone benefits from. One of the most rewarding parts of my job at The Bowen Group has been the opportunity to mentor members of the staff and see them grow and promote within the company.

The Bowen Group mentoring culture provides:
  • A win for our mentees. 
  • A win for our mentors. 
  • A win for The Bowen Group. 
  • A win for our customers.