Find a Sherpa Not a Mentor

Why Mentors are Not for Everyone

A Mentorship Relation

Simply put a mentor is a more experienced person in the same field you are trying to work in and their role is to provide advice, resources, information, motivation and emotional support to help their mentee.

Coaches VS Mentors

Coaches while they play a similar role to a mentor they do address some of my main concerns with the mentorship process. Let’s take a look at some of the key differences:

  • Money: While a mentorship is normally an altruistic endeavour a coach will be financially motivated to deliver specific results
  • Outcome: Coaches are normally focused to work on a specific set of goals or problems rather than the more holistic role that the mentor will often take
  • Time: Since the relationship with the coach is a professional one there is a clear delimiter in terms of time and deadlines.

Where Both Fall Short

Now, don’t it’s that I think that mentors or coaches don’t have any value; quite the opposite there are coaches and mentors that are exceptional but those seem to be too few and far in between. More often than not mentors and coaches will fall short of the mentee expectations and potentially damage their efforts to improve.

Meet the Sherpa

Rather than hiring a coach or looking for a mentor; I would urge people to find a Sherpa. Yes, a sherpa to follow the analogy of climbing; Sherpas are mountain climbing guides which sole purpose is to guide climbers to safer areas, help them out and essentially keep them alive.

Build a Support System

In contrast with Mentors or coaches who promise to fix all your problems or grow your business from a small startup to a 100million a year business; sherpas are meant to be an organic support system rather than relying on one or two sherpas I urge to search for multiples for every area you are trying to improve.

Senior Engineering Lead @Humi, Regularly writing about software engineering and technology

Senior Engineering Lead @Humi, Regularly writing about software engineering and technology