Why it is important as a product manager to have a mentor

Updated: Mar 29, 2020

Many successful people have been mentees before recognizing success; Bill Campbell mentored Steve Jobs, and in return, Steve Jobs guided Mark Zuckerberg. Warren Buffet was the mentor of Bill Gates. This just goes to show that no matter how high on the ladder you are, you’re never too successful to have a mentor or be a mentee.

Investing in a relationship in the form of mentorship, can only lead to a number of benefits for both the mentor and the mentee. Being a mentor is the ultimate form of paying it forward. The years of product experience, the mistakes they have made and the perseverance they have shown to be able to advance in their career, can smoothen the path for others in the same industry and help them get through a bumpy road.

As a mentee, you can leverage the experience of field professionals to get over difficulties you experience daily in your position, but also advance your career faster.

The importance of mentorship within the product community, but also in other fields, is growing overall. Mentors understand the privileges of passing through their learnings and experience, while mentees understand the advantage of having someone to guide them along the way and find advice.

Mentors provide information and knowledge

As Benjamin Franklin said, ‘’Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn’’. When starting out, it’s difficult to know the elements that are needed to run a business, or even activities that are incorporated within tasks of the product managers.

Having a mentor, can ease your journey in a product role and help you build the skills, that are needed to perform your responsibilities as a product expert.

Mentors can see where we can improve

The experience of a mentor helps them understand the areas of growth for a mentee, when self-assessment passes on this blind spot. A mentor is there to honestly tell you the areas you should grow into and spot your weaknesses, always through constructive conversations.

That constructive criticism helps a mentee see things for themselves that otherwise they wouldn’t.

By knowing the areas you need to focus, you can create a personal development plan with the support of your mentor, and follow up to see the progress throughout time.

Mentors encourage and help us keep on going

In every job there are ups and downs and having someone to share their experience can be very motivational and encouraging.

An experienced opinion can offer a different way of looking at things, and also identify positive learnings from a difficult situation you may be facing.

Mentors can offer unfiltered opinions on ideas you may have

As a member of the product community, you often realize there are different ways of implementing activities, or things you would like to try out and see if they can improve your output.

A mentor can act as a sounding board when sharing your ideas, and provide honest feedback when others may not.

Mentors have experiences that can help you avoid the mistakes beginners make

Jumping into the field of product management or advancing your career can be tricky and slowed down, especially when you don’t know how to avoid beginners’ mistakes.

Listen to what your mentor has to say about the mistakes they made during their careers and embrace them as learning lessons, without experiencing the pain and lost opportunities that come from making those mistakes.

Mentors offer their advice for free

Mentors don’t invest into a mentorship relationship for the money. In fact, most of mentorships are offered for free. There are multiple benefits for the mentors, which will be mentioned in detail in another post. The most important one, though, is the satisfaction they get by passing though their knowledge and seeing someone evolve in the industry.

If you’re wondering how to find a mentor, look no further! The Product Lab has launched a free mentorship program in The Netherlands, aiming to help the product community grow further and support professionals become product leaders in their industries.

For more information about the mentorship program, visit or send an email to