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The many merits of a mentor

Whether starting out or an experienced leader, we all need help on our career journey at some point – particularly in the current climate. If you’re uncertain of your next steps, a mentor can help you find your feet and climb the business ladder…

In the construction industry, we’re all facing a myriad of challenges, from skill shortages, supply issues and recruitment problems to stringent legislation and contracts, fierce competition and ever-increasing customer expectation.

Engaging with an experienced mentor can be a highly effective and cost-efficient way of getting the support you need to overcome such challenges.

I’ve been fortunate throughout my career to have benefitted from tapping into the knowledge and insights provided by mentors and I still have three or four people who regularly offer advice and a healthy dose of realism when needed.

Their input and advice have certainly helped me climb the career ladder – and when I was running businesses, their support and expertise was even more valuable.  

I know first-hand that leading a business can be a lonely place where it’s difficult – and sometimes dangerous – to confide in colleagues. External help isn’t always readily available, and it can be difficult to get someone who really understands your sector.  

That’s why there are real benefits to be accrued from working with an experienced mentor:

  • Experience and insight – mentors areseasoned professionals who, as well as having a wealth of experience, have likely faced and overcome many challenges and can provide insights on how to navigate complex situations based on their own learning.

  • Networking opportunities – mentors often have extensive networks across a variety of industries, giving you access to valuable connections and sources of information and creating opportunities for partnerships, collaborations and career progression.

  • Objective feedback – a good mentor provides a valuable and unbiased external perspective on your decision making and actions, which can help you avoid pitfalls and identify your strengths and areas for improvement.

  • Guidance on leadership skills – effective leadership is an ongoing learning process, so a mentor can offer guidance on leadership skills, communication strategies and other essential qualities.

  • Career development – mentors can assist you in setting SMART career goals, delivering advice on career avenues and skill development and identifying opportunities for growth in your organisation and the wider industry.

  • Confidentiality and trust – the mentor-mentee relationship is built on trust, with discussions taking place in a confidential setting to ensure you are comfortable seeking advice and exploring potential solutions in a supportive environment.

  • Learning from mistakes – a mentor will have made mistakes in their own career and can guide you to learn from their experiences, ensuring you make informed decisions and avoid similar pitfalls.

  • Personal development – a good mentor can also contribute to your personal growth, offering insights into work-life balance, stress management and maintaining a healthy perspective on both personal and professional challenges.

  • Motivation – a good mentor can help provide you with motivation and reassurance when you need it. And we ALL need it from time to time!

  • Succession planning – for businesses, succession planning is crucial, so a mentor can assist in identifying and developing potential successors, helping to ensure a smooth transition at the appropriate time.

  • Continuous learning – the business environment is dynamic and unpredictable, and you need to stay in tune with trends and changes. Mentors can act as guides, recommending relevant resources, sharing their own continuous learning experiences, and helping you stay ahead of the game.

Engaging a mentor could be one of the most valuable investments you make in your career, helping you streamline your operations and make better informed business decisions. A good mentor provides you with a safe support environment, a font of relevant and expert knowledge, and a practical and safe sounding board for your ideas and decisions.

“External help isn’t always readily available, and it can be difficult to get someone who really understands your sector”

Compared with other support mechanisms, such as training and consultancy, mentoring is very time effective, with sessions usually lasting a couple of hours.

Depending on your circumstances, you may only require a check-in with a mentor once a month but they will be there whenever you need them.

As well as saving you stress, time and money, a good mentor can help you find the right path when it comes to career progression – and navigate the route ahead successfully. 


Mentoring made easy

Paul delivers a specially discounted mentoring service for SELECT Members, offering an experienced and sympathetic confidante with whom to share concerns, build constructive advice and bounce ideas off. 

Specialist areas covered include growth, change management, succession planning, strategy, personal development, leadership and management skills development, marketing and bid management.

The cost for Paul’s mentor service is £1,000 per month, which includes two monthly advice sessions. To find out more, email him at


Paul McDevitt is Managing Director of McDevitt & Co, an experienced business consultancy that helps to inspire people, improve productivity and increase profits in the construction industry. Find out more and contact him at


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