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Mentoring is very popular in cyber security, but what is mentoring? What should I expect? Let’s dive into this topic a bit more. First and foremost, mentoring is a relationship between the mentor and the mentee and the purpose of this relationship is to help the mentees develop and capitalise on their potential. Mentoring works the best when both parties acknowledge the requirement for personal development; personal and professional development is the core of mentoring.
What is a mentor and do I need one?
Fundamentally a mentor is a person who can provide you with advice, guidance and general support, and a common misconception is that they are there to teach you, but that is a tiny aspect of mentoring; it is more about helping you grow. Another common misconception is that a mentor has to be directly in the industry you seek to grow into; this is false. Mentors can help you succeed in many ways, and it is not just limited to your industry; that outside perspective may be what you need to grow.
Do you need one? It depends; first, you need to ask yourself some questions to help gauge your current challenges and situation, sort of like a self-assessment. This information should help you decide whether you need that guidance. If you have exhausted all your methods, seek a mentor to help you analyse your situation and advise how to grow.
Can I become mentor?
Commonly people are in two minds about if they need a mentor or could be that mentor, you do not need to be a subject matter expert to be a mentor, but it helps to be knowledgeable in the target industry. Further to the knowledge requirement, it is more important to be aware of the common challenges people seeking mentorship in your industry may face.
Challenges can include but are certainly not limited to job hunting, building a professional brand, creating logical study plans; as previously mentioned, this is not an exhaustive list. If you have sound approaches to these problems, can listen to other people’s issues and tailor solutions to them, mentoring is for you; at least give it a try.
What makes a good mentor?
There is a quote by Bob Proctor that rings true when talking about what makes a good mentor.
“A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you.”Bob Proctor
Let’s break down the above; going a bit deeper, what characteristics would a good mentor possess?
- Asking the right questions, questions hold the answer to a lot of things, asking the mentee the right questions can help the mentor understand the situations and problems better.
- Emotionally intelligent, mentees could have a lot of worry and stress; being empathic is key to reassuring the mentee and helping build that connection with them.
- Personal, mentoring is not one size fits all; a good mentor should tailor the experience to the mentee.
- Honesty, mentors should be honest as they need to help clear misconceptions and concerns, and the truth is required to help mentees get a clear picture.
- Listen well, two ears, one mouth, mentors should be able to listen well. This is a sign of a good mentor.
The self assessment
As mentioned earlier, a self-assessment can tell you if mentoring is for you, but it will also help you bring the correct information to a mentoring call to get the most out of it; as always, questions have the answers, more so the right questions.
- What do you want from your career?
- What is your current situation?
- What are your challenges?
- What have you tried so far?
- Have you identified your goals and objectives?
- Have you researched your career ambitions?
- Do you have a budget for studying?
- What are my strengths and weaknesses?
- How do I like to learn?
The above list will give you an idea of good questions to ask yourself, copy these and then answer them fully and honestly doing so will provide you with good information that you can bring to a mentoring call or gauge whether mentoring is right for you.
Cyber security is a vast industry with lots of roles and different routes. At times, it can be overwhelming, and you may need that mentor to help us highlight a clear and logical path to achieving our goals and objectives; without it, you could get lost in the sea of information and the lack of clarity that comes with it.
Cyber security mentoring is becoming popular as people seek that clarity to help them grow and find clear and concise information about their careers and opportunities. If you are struggling or need to speak to someone who may have the answers, we recommend using CyberMentorDoJo to find your mentor or become that mentor for someone else.