When starting out in your career, having a mentor can help lead you in the right professional direction. But many professionals don’t think about having more than one mentor to get the most out of their relationships.
“Mentorship is an opportunity to really learn from someone who’s been there before you,” says Amanda Pouchot, co-founder and CIO of the Levo League. “They can help you problem solve so you get where you want to go, help you identify your goals, introduce you to people.”
Pouchot recommends that everyone should have three different kinds of mentors:
1. A mentor about the same age as you: This is known as the peer mentorship relationship. A mentor your own age is someone you connect with and learn from, and who probably learns from you as well.
2. A mentor two to four years older than you: Someone who's been through the same thing you’re currently going through can give you valuable advice — especially if they went through it only a few years before.
3. A mentor much more senior than you: A mentor who is much older than you will have had a lot more time to reflect on issues they’ve seen when they were your age. If the problem you face is heated or tied to some emotion, a senior mentor has had time to distance themselves from the problem and can offer you objective advice.
However, also remember that a mentor doesn't always have to be older than you.
“I even learn a lot from our new college graduate,” says Pouchot. “I would consider I’m her mentor, but she’s four years younger than me and I learn things from her every day that I would not even think about.”