Mentorship is the buzz word these days whichever aspect of our world you turn to. Even Facebook has incorporated it in its “social learning groups”. So why is this practice important for today’s emerging leaders? As it turns out, even elephants incorporate it in raising their young.

Reason Number 1: Guidance

Believe it or not, whatever “new” paths you may be crafting out in your personal life, career or business, you need someone who has been there to “show you the ropes”.

While technologies may be different today than they were twenty years ago when the fax machine was all the rage, some things about us humans and the way we relate remain the same.

Leaders will still have to deal with similar the dynamics with people when it comes to building a team, problem-solving and everything else that goes with the leader’s role.

A mentor will share their journey, their wisdom and, critically, will allow you to walk your own path in which you are allowed to fail.

Mentors will give that guidance.

Get a mentor.

Reason Number 2: Trust

In mentorship, just like everything else, trust is everything. Jimmy Chin pointed out that in mentorship

“you need to choose your mentors carefully, just like mentors choose their apprentices carefully. There has to be trust there. On a very deep level”

If you have challenges with trust, you will not make the kind of progress you need. Lack of trust, at the very core, breeds suspicion. And the deadly web begins to generate its undesirable spin-offs from there. Your progress vehicle will be in paralysis before its engines start.

In a mentorship relationship, you learn to trust, the very thing that you need as a leader to make progress. The interesting thing is that the mentor usually has nothing to lose and the leader being mentored has everything to gain.

A mentoring relationship provides an environment in which trust can be developed or, at the very least, recaptured.

Get a mentor.

Reason Number 3: Time Saver

We do not have all the time in the world to make all the mistakes as we journey on towards success. We only get one shot to live this life. It makes sense to learn from others who have been there.

Mentors have been there and made their share of mistakes. They also have made their share of success. It has been said that success leaves clues. With the vast amounts of literature we have today, perhaps we should be saying that success leaves blueprints.

When relevant, mentors will share those times and experiences where they failed and thereby giving us the benefit of not spending our time going through the same if we can avoid it.

Sometimes, the time saved is not in avoiding the experience but in having foreknowledge of how someone managed to go through it that will save us some time.

Invest your time in the mentoring process. It saves time.

Get a mentor.

Reason Number 4: Accountability

Accountability is critical for progress. Accountability to yourself as a leader is a critical piece of that progress. The challenge is that leadership can be a very lonely affair and it is in those times of being alone that leaders can talk themselves either way: into progress or lack of it.

When a goal is shared and no accountability is incorporated into it, it is easy to retract when things get hard. Accountability develops in the leader the drive to see it through to the end.

As a leader, you start to develop that kind of accountability in a mentoring relationship.

Now, while accountability is ingrained in many processes in the workplace, this one has to do with being accountable at a personal level. Success at this level flows through to the other levels.

Get a mentor.

With these four reasons for why you need a mentor outlined. There is a critical piece we should never miss out which Jimmy Chin pointed out:

“You need to choose your mentors carefully, just like mentors choose their apprentices carefully”

The right mentor makes all the difference if you are going to move forward. They come packaged in all sorts of shapes, sizes, temperaments and whatnot but for goodness sake,

Get a mentor.

Sunganani L. Manjolo