Blog Mentorship

Published on June 22nd, 2016 | by Hemant Gaule


10 reasons why mentorship is needed in PR

There’s nothing more adorable than a lost PR executive in their first week on the job. Clueless and blunderful, young professionals wage a spectacular struggle to apply what they learned in college at their new workplaces. Their employers, therefore invest in their training and grooming for a crisp period to get them up to speed.

But as far as professional and personal development goes, that’s just about it. The real growth of professionals happens beyond this period, and by virtue of their own proactive efforts. And this attitude towards growth can (and probably should) last for the entirety of their careers. Having mentors is integral to this journey.

Mentors are the rudder that will guide your boat through the career. Out of their wisdom and experience, mentors can offer incredible volumes of insights to young professionals on tactical aspects of public relations and decision-making therein. Here are 10 reasons why mentorship is really needed.

1. The PR Landscape is changing faster today than ever before

With the advent of new technologies and platforms, industries and client types and an increasingly dense battle for mind share, PR strategies need to be sharper and dynamic. An experienced mentor can provide insights into how to adapt to the evolving ecosystem.

2. Holistic development

Mentors can help you get a solid SWOT analysis on yourself. It is important to get a candid impression of the weaknesses on which you need to work to be an effective professional. Periodic self-evaluation in the presence of a mentor can help you refine your ability to understand client briefs, refine the thought processes that produce solutions

3. Overcoming blind spots

As a PR professional, you will factor in several data points into your strategy (the kind that has been implemented in one form or another, several times). Consequently, it’s easy to become oblivious to risks to and gaps in your strategy. The presence of a mentor can help spot and address these before it is too late.

4. You have your sounding board

Sounding boards are invaluable to communications consultants. Before solutions are developed for brands, it is imperative to run them by unbiased observers. Not only does one get to see how they can be refined, but any hidden risks.

5. Balances strategic view and tactical implementation:

Brand communicators are often clear of the strategic outcomes of PR efforts. PR professionals translate this brief into tactical approaches. However, it is possible that these approaches are somewhat delinked from those expected outcomes. A mentor can provide a consistent strategic view that can ensure that the solutions stay aligned with the core objectives.

6. Access to newer relationships and networks

Having the right mentor-mentee equations open doors to otherwise inaccessible professional networks. In PR, your mentor may have several relationships built with journalists over trust spanning years can be rubbed off. Even from the point of view of career progressions in general, your mentor can direct you towards lucrative opportunities.

7. It helps in faster ascent

This pertains not just to the world of PR but concerns professional progression in general. A mentor can not only enhance your technical capabilities but organisational effectiveness as well. The latter is directly linked with how well suited you are for taking on larger teams and responsibilities and therefore how fast you ascend up the hierarchy.

8. Expanding knowledge of your line of sight

As a PR consultant you will gradually increase the breadth of industry experience you have by adding clients from newer industries. When presented with a choice to move from a sector to another, you must weigh the pros and cons of each against your professional goals. And, you can overcome the limitation of your knowledge on industries wherein you have never worked, if you have mentors who can guide you through it. Ultimately, it can optimise your choice of which kind of clientele to prefer or clients from which industry you on board.

9. It gives you credibility as a professional

Finding the right mentor, who will not only endorse you but also uplift your authority through their wisdom and by association, can help cement your personal brand in a certain domain. It can position your professional credibility in a domain or sector where you want to build it.

10. It helps you become a mentor yourself

Somewhere down the line you may (and should) want to become a mentor. Why you must is a cause for another listicle. Having mentorship can demonstrate how to assess, motivate and lead people. It can also help you become an efficient leader as well.

To reiterate, it is never too early or late to find yourself a mentor. Neither is there reason to limit yourself to one mentor. Ultimately you must seek to make the best of the wealth of wisdom available for you to leverage.

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About the Author

Hemant Gaule

Hemant is a communications professional with experience in corporate & brand communications of diverse brand portfolios; counselling several Private Sector entities, & Social, Political & Government initiatives. Currently he is the co-founder and Deputy Dean of India’s first independent school of public relations. Prior to this, he was part of a team that spearheaded the national election campaign of India’s current Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi. After graduating from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, he spent two years with a leading Indian conglomerate in brand management and corporate communications. He can be reached at @HemantGaule on Twitter

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