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Careers Advice: The benefits of mentorship

In these turbulent times, having a mentor could help you make the right career or business decisions. Abra Dunsby gleans advice from travel’s mentors and mentees

Brian Young, managing director of G Adventures, has acted as a mentor to employees and other travel professionals over the years

“There’s different ways of looking at mentoring. You can mentor one individual for a long time, or lots of people can come to you for advice over a short time period.

“Mentoring can be ad hoc and doesn’t need to be formalised or scripted. It doesn’t need to take up much time – I’d say an hour-long conversation is average, so if you’re considering mentoring, don’t be put off by the time commitment.

“My tips for being a good mentor are to create a safe space so that the mentee knows they won’t be judged and trusts the information will be kept confidential – the relationship needs to be built on trust, first and foremost.

“It’s also important to listen. Sometimes mentees don’t need advice, they just want to talk and be listened to. If they do need advice, often when they talk things through they’ll find the answer themselves – you act as a sounding board and can also draw on your experience to present a way of doing things. Getting that second opinion builds confidence in the mentee that they know what they’re doing.

“Mentorship is now more important than ever. We’ve all gone through lots in the past 12 months on a professional and personal level. It’s important to talk and get advice on your career, and [to realise] it’s OK not to be OK.

“This industry has given me lots and I see mentoring as a way of giving back. If you’re thinking about being a mentor just go for it. It’s massively rewarding and you learn a lot.”

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