Did you know that  mentoring, has its roots in Greek mythology. According to the myth, Ulysses asked his friend, Mentor, to take care of his son, Telemachus, before he left on his long trip. Mentor taught Telemachus many lessons, for example how to behave around the gods, and was supportive and guiding overall.

That image of a mentor-mentee relationship, one which is often unidirectional, where an older and more experienced person plays mentor to a younger person, feeding them information and advice, is often the first image of mentorship we conjure in our mind.  This is just one type of mentorship.

Recently on LinkedIn we shared an article about women taking part in mentoring walks. The organization Vital Voices came up with mentoring walks as a way for women to connect and learn from each other while going for walk. These very successful  mentoring walks now take place in several cities and countries globally.  As you can see, mentorship is not just something stuck in the ancient Greek times, it’s very much a thing now and perhaps in this ever-changing and evolving world with its multitude of opportunities and options, mentoring matters even more.

There are many different types of mentorships. The Muse lists these seven:

  1. Traditional mentor
  2. Affinity-based mentor
  3. Group mentor
  4. Peer mentor
  5. Cross-functional mentor
  6. Reverse mentor
  7. Parasocial mentor

Whichever type of mentoring appeals to you, there are several reasons why having a mentor is a great idea. Here are a few:

  1. You will receive customized career advice. This is great when you know where you want to be but not how to get there. Very often we feel like we are walking on uncharted territory, but there’s always someone to help
  2. You can expand your network. Extending your sphere of influence and getting to know not just a diverse group of people, but also people in your field, is bound to be fruitful. 
  3. Mentors can help you set goals, including holding you accountable (SMART goals)

Take a look at this myCEO blog about the importance of being a mentor and having a mentor