Have you considered becoming a mentor?
How would you define mentorship? Many people immediately think of an older, more experienced person within the mentee’s company passing their knowledge down to a young, eager protégé, but it doesn’t always work like that. Even if someone is younger or has the same level of experience, they can still share valuable insights. It doesn’t have to be one-on-one either; mentors can take several mentees under their wing at once.
LifeSpeak expert and president of MentorCity, Shawn Mintz, says, “counseling is about the past, coaching is about the present, [and] mentoring is about the future….” A mentor’s role is to advise, but that doesn’t mean they can’t also counsel or coach. In other words, there’s no right or wrong way to go about mentoring—as long as both parties are happy with the arrangement and are mutually benefiting from it. That’s right, mentorship isn’t just advantageous for the mentee. Mentors, too, stand to gain in the following ways:
- Mentoring keeps you sharp. Good mentees will pose thoughtful questions, and they’ll have a lot of them. In order to provide helpful answers you need to stay up-to-date on industry trends and current events, which in turn will benefit your professional career.
- Mentoring helps you develop soft skills. No matter how much of a veteran you are, you can always improve your interpersonal skills. Becoming a mentor will make you even better at tasks involving leadership, communication, time management, training, supervision, and so on.
- Mentoring allows you to grow your network. It’s not always practical to attend conferences or networking events, especially if you don’t work in a bustling metropolis or if crowded events like that make you uneasy. Working with a mentee opens the door to all their contacts in an organic, low-pressure way. And best of all, it’s free.
- Mentoring can let you learn from someone with different experiences. Sticking to the familiar is human nature. We get comfortable with our routines and stop wondering if there’s a better way to solve for “x”. Mentorship forces you to think outside the box while exposing you to your mentee’s new ideas. Even if that person is the same age as you or has similar credentials, their previous professional and personal experiences may influence them to think in vastly different ways than you do, which can improve your creativity and problem-solving.
- Mentoring can be fun. Being a mentor doesn’t have to be extremely time-consuming, hard work. It also doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing lunch to meet in a stuffy boardroom. Depending on your mutual interests and availability, you might agree to meet weekly at a funky coffee shop, or split a pretzel in the park once a month. You’ll both be more forthcoming and supportive of each other if you actually enjoy your time together.
- Mentoring feels great. The chance to pay it forward is highly rewarding in and of itself. Even if you don’t feel like you have a ton of experience to share, there’s always someone who’s trying to reach where you are. Imparting your knowledge and advice builds their confidence and pushes them to succeed, which is indescribably fulfilling.
Our experts mentor employees 24/7
The digital LifeSpeak library contains over 1,500 expert-led resources that cover all kinds of topics from professional development and career planning to physical, mental, and financial health. We encourage employees to access these trainings whenever they need answers to their pressing life questions, just as they would a real-life coach or mentor. Our videos, podcasts, and tip sheets aren’t meant to replace that relationship, but instead serve as a supplement to professional assistance. To learn more about how we can help your employees thrive, book a demo today.
Also published on Medium.