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Mentors, Teachers and Managers… What is the difference?

We recently decided to provide Mentorship services to our international graduates. The idea came to mind while I was having a coffee with my Manager. My manager is so supportive and encouraging; however I also have my own professional mentor that I reach out to from time to time. It got me thinking, what are the main differences between mentors, teachers and managers?. I would like to share my personal take on this subject.

Teachers: Your traditional teacher is teaching you from knowledge and theory. They are great at explaining foundations of a concept and looking at the evidence, details that make a certain statement. Teaching is usually done in a class with more than one student. There is a traditional feeling that the “teacher” is the one that knows it all. There is an image when you think of a teacher. Someone who has learnt the correct answers and will help you get the correct answer. If you are passing your exams with flying colours, this reflects well on the teacher and their teaching abilities.

Managers: A good manager is essential to your productivity and happiness in the workplace. A manager works with you to achieve the goals of the business and a good manager invests time to personally develop your skills. However with managers, there can be biased reason for your success. If you succeed, your manager succeeds and the business etc. Your manager needs you to perform well, for their own performance. Very rarely have I come across a manager who actually wants the right outcome for me personally. I have had the opportunity to work with some exceptional managers who are able to encourage and challenge you while also giving back to your abilities and skills. But the reality is, if the manager is pushing you to perform or get results – well really its their job too. Sometimes when a manager is too driven to succeed hey may lose track of your personal goals, which is understandable.

Basically my personal understanding is – Teachers and Managers all have a set goal for you. They need you to achieve something for some small part of their own professional gain. I know this doesn’t apply for every manager or teacher out there.

Mentors: The all the important Mentor. From my experience, a professional mentor is the person that will teach you through their experiences and interactions. They don’t want you to have correct answers or the correct numbers. They will focus on their mistakes and what they did to battle and overcome barriers in their careers. That’s what makes them so successful. They don’t have an agenda but to see you succeed and will most likely give you advice based on your personal drive and what motivates you.

Mentors are so important for our development. I have realised that my mentor, whom I have known professionally for years has always helped me when it comes to dealing with issues at work, how to overcome them and stay motivated. To be really honest, I think that many people out there have mentors however don’t realise it. I encourage you to keep that relationship strong. Mentors are generally good listeners. They give advice but are also willing to listen to advice. Their openness to learning is what makes them different and what makes you succeed.

Fainaaz Ali Director of Careers

Please click link as below to become one of great mentors



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