Throughout your life, you will likely have different advisors or mentors at different times, but there is nothing wrong with having multiple mentors at the same time. It is likely that each of them can bring something unique to your life.
Having multiple advisors gives you the diversity of opinions that feed good decisions. In the same way, having more than one mentor can benefit you professionally and personally. When it comes to tackling social issues in your workplace, is your mentor the right person to talk to? The benefits of having additional mentors to help you navigate your career or personal challenges can prove invaluable. Multiple mentors can be seen as your own personal advisory board.
Moreover, there is a need for more mentorships according to a new survey. Forbes reports that 63 percent of business owners do not have mentors when they start out. Yet, 92 percent of small business owners indicated that a mentor can have a direct impact on the growth and survival of their business. Those who do not have a mentor expressed a desire to have one. Research has shown that individuals with mentors are more likely to be top performers. In addition, mentorships have been particularly advantageous for women, according to the New York Times.
However, our lives involve more than just our professional careers. Our personal lives are just as important to our well-being. That is why it is important that we have mentors we can trust to offer feedback and advice in both of these areas. You may even want to consider having multiple mentors to help you grow in all aspects of your life and career.
When it comes to the benefits of having multiple mentors, they can often bring balanced input into your life and decisions, more networking opportunities and be there for you when you need them.
Sometimes the risk of having a single mentor can leave you feeling unbalanced, by focusing only on your professional life. There is also a chance that your decisions won’t be made with a bigger view in mind. Often just focusing on growth in one area of your life can cause you to neglect or overlook other areas of your development.
Having multiple mentors also broadens the range of opinions and voices in your world. This kind of experience proves to be a big advantage when it comes to creating productive teams and companies. In fact, research shows that companies with diverse teams are 35 percent more likely to have above average earnings.
A part of mentoring is expanding your connections and network. By having multiple mentors, you can do this on a bigger scale. Ever mentor that you have adds extra professional contacts that you can add to your network. This also improves your chances of finding opportunities as you have additional resources to draw from and extra mentors looking out for ways to help you.
Another benefit of multiple mentors is that you can be confident that if you are facing a problem that you need to talk about right way, at least one of your mentors will be able to discuss the situation with you.
An important part of having multiple mentors is that is increases your learning and expands your focus.
Each mentor feeds something unique into your life. For example, you may have an older colleague as a mentor that can help you focus on the bigger picture as well as a peer mentor that can relate to what you are going through right now. Each person offers something that the other mentors does not have, whether that is leadership experience, tech knowledge, politically savvy, etc.
In fact, good leaders embrace their ability to learn from a variety of people around them. Research has shown that 69 percent of business leaders believe mentorship is important.
One expert has recommended having mentors who contradict each other.
“We look for people who are contrarian–we want someone to always poke holes in what we’re thinking. You need people who balance each other–the worst thing is folks who all think the same way,” Lyle Stevens, co-founder of the social influencer marketing platform Mavrck told Inc.
This will often give you a range of ideas, but the final decision will be up to you.
There are a variety of place to find mentors including connections you make through your kids’ school or activities, volunteer work, industry events and even your community. If you meet someone you admire or want to learn from, build on your relationship slowly. Don’t be shy to simply ask them to advise you. If you want to make it a more formal mentorship, you can work up to that over time as you get to know each other.
You can also get back in touch with past colleagues or bosses and see if they are willing to help mentor you in some area.
Regardless of where you find a mentor, there are some things that you can look for that indicate someone’s ability to be a good mentor.
However, it is important not to take it personally if someone does not agree to be your mentor. Their decision may not have anything to do with you. They could be too busy or don’t feel comfortable in a mentoring role.
Statistics have shown the importance of mentorship for growth and development, both professionally and personally. While you can expect to have different mentors at different stages of your life, it is also a good idea to have more than one mentor at the same time. This provides you with different viewpoints that can help you make the best decisions.