How mentors help advance your career

On February 04, 2021 mentee, mentor, mentorship

So here we are, it’s a brand new year. Despite all the challenges 2020 presented us with, we’ve waved goodbye to that crazy year and 2021 is an opportunity for a fresh start. 

The start of the year is a great time to focus on your career plan, assess your skills & strengths, reflect on where you might have some gaps, set new goals and seek out a mentor and/or coach who will support you to reach them.

No matter what stage you’re at in your career it’s never too early (or too late) to build your support network, and mentors are a great place to start.

So what makes a great mentor? And how can a mentor help you advance your career?

A great mentor is someone who offers their knowledge, expertise and connections to open doors & help you consider opportunities or areas of development you hadn’t thought of. They might help you navigate stakeholder relationships, build your personal brand, develop your executive presence or just be a much needed ear when times get tough.

Great mentors also act as sponsors, they’ll advocate on your behalf and keep an eye out for career opportunities you might otherwise never hear about. They provide career advice (they might have been in your shoes a few years ago) & expand your view of what’s possible.

But remember, it’s up to you to drive the agenda with your mentor. Prepare for your sessions, take the time to reflect on what you discuss and most importantly, take action. Mentors aren’t paid for their time with you, so make sure you maximise your time with them to create a great working relationship.

So, will this be the year you finally decide to get yourself a mentor?

The IAB Mentoring program is a great place to start.

Claire Harrison is an executive coach, certified Strengths Profile coach, meditation & mindfulness teacher & holds a Diploma in Positive Psychology. Claire has held several leadership roles in sales, commercial operations & strategy for REA Group, NewsCorp, Getty Images & Mamamia Women’s Network & has over 15 years’ experience leading teams & developing workplace culture.

You can find her at