The Value of Mentoring – Critical to Professional Success!

Two weeks ago, my colleague at Professional Development Strategies, Dr. Krista Osborne, wrote a blog piece on professional mentoring and she nailed this! Reading the piece she wrote inspired me to write this as an add on to her insightful commentary.

Mentors are an integral part of professional success and the absence of a mentor in one’s career is often telling. My experience with the mentoring process is no different.

I’ve been very fortunate to have been working with a business mentor since 1995. My business mentor, Dr. Chip Bell, is the founder of the Chip Bell Group, a well respected corporate business consultant, featured keynote speaker with the Washington Speakers Bureau and one of the foremost experts on customer service and service excellence in the world. Dr. Bell, a published author of 19 books, was first introduced to me through a book he authored titled “Customers as Partners.” Not only did that book shape my professional life and define my views about providing excellent service to customers but it served as the launching pad for the development of a mentor relationship which defines what I do in business to this very day.

People often ask why the mentor relationship is so important? For me, having interacted with Dr. Bell for the past 17 years, the answer is clear. Having a professional mentor provides many benefits but perhaps three of the most important are the focus it provides me when the business waters are otherwise murky, assistance in charting a course for professional success and guiding principles which correctly drive my interactions with customers year over year. Not only does having a professional mentor drive Dr. Osborne’s and my personal and professional success but it differentiates us from others, and is evident in everything we do at Professional Development Strategies including our training philosophies and standard for service excellence.

The mentoring process works for others as well. Dr. Osborne and I know this because we spend countless hours talking to other people sharing insights we’ve learned over the years and providing professional development strategies we’ve learned from our own business and professional mentors. The question we’re often asked is “Can you be successful without a mentor?” Absolutely, but the odds for success go significantly up with the presence of a mentor shaping your personal and professional development. Case in point, I might have ultimately learned what Dr. Bell’s taught me over the years on my own. However, his involvement in my businesses got me there significantly quicker, provided insights and advice which are always on target and generated results well beyond what I would have otherwise learned about business, interacting with customers and providing world class service myself.

Make no mistake about it, having a mentor is a significant “value add” proposition in that it also: prevents individuals from making professional mistakes, empowers your networking efforts through professional introductions, provides critical business and professional guidance and is key to your professional success. So, I guess the question is this. Do you have a professional mentor? If the answer to that question is “no,” then there’s no time like the present to start searching for a mentor to build a relationship with. Your career will thank you!

Dan Draz