Should Entrepreneurs Choose A Mentor Outside Of Their Field?

Mentoring Best Practices
Published on
June 21, 2019

So, you have read about the benefits of having a mentor and now want someone to guide you through your professional life? The process of choosing the right mentor who is most suitable keeping your needs and goals in mind is as important as the mentoring itself. If you do not have the right mentor, you won’t be able to have a very enriching mentoring experience.

One of the first questions that arises is: should my mentor be from my field/industry or from another field/industry? While choosing a mentor from your own field may seem like the better choice, sometimes, going for someone who specializes in a domain outside your field can be quite insightful. Factors such as what kind of mentoring relationship you are looking for and the skills and qualities that you wish to develop then come into play. 

Below, we outline what you should consider before choosing a mentor outside your field. The points we discuss will help you determine if, as an entrepreneur, choosing a mentor outside of your field is the most advantageous.

  • What kind of mentor-mentee relationship are you looking for?

The kind of mentor-mentee relationship you are looking for plays a huge role in deciding whether or not your mentor should be from outside your field. For instance, if you want a long-lasting relationship with a mentor who has enough experience and knowledge to help you plan your career and is someone you can go to for advice on huge professional decisions, then a person from outside your field may be a great fit. This is because such a mentor will be able to give you unbiased advice from a third-party point of view. 

However, if you need a mentor for day-to-day projects, then you will obviously need someone who understands the projects you are working on and the way things work. 

  • Which skills and qualities do you want to learn from your mentor?

Do you want to work more on developing valuable life skills such as communication skills, interpersonal skills, networking skills, self-awareness, discipline, and work ethics? If so, then going for a mentor from outside your industry may be a smart choice for you. A good mentor is someone who should inspire you to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Often, someone who comes from outside your comfort zone is great at doing exactly this and pushing you to be better and bolder.

  • Which stage of your career are you currently in?

Depending on which stage of your career you're currently in, you can choose a mentor that would suit your needs. If you are a fresher in the industry, then someone in the same industry may be most ideal for you as a mentor. This person will be able to guide and train you as required, help you figure out the best way to run your business, and assist you with adapting to the industry in general. 

If you have experience and are in your mid-career or at a management level, then someone who is your peer from another industry and understands the basics of your everyday problems may make a great mentor. For those in the higher stages of their career, a professional who works outside your field and has plenty of experience in their own area should qualify as a great mentor. This helps to widen your horizons and see things from a new perspective. 

It is important to keep in mind just how important a role a mentor plays in your life before making any decision about them. Whether or not you make the right considerations can make or break your career.

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