Agreeing to become a mentor seems like a move to give away a sea of knowledge to the mentee for very little. Sometimes a mentor can struggle to provide the best information when they feel they are not getting anything in return.
More often than not, mentoring others can give us a feeling of giving everything you’ve got for free and gaining nothing if anything at all. However, this perception is wrong—it couldn’t be further from the truth.
Oftentimes, we fail to realize the benefits of mentorship to the mentor themselves. For starters, mentoring others has a remarkable positive impact on our own experience and career growth.
But before we delve deeper into the benefits of becoming a mentor, let us first see what mentorship is all about and what it’s not.
Mentorship – What It’s All About
Mentorship is more than just tutorship; it is more of a connection between two individuals. The person who has more knowledge, skills, and expertise guides the other one at a junior level.
Mentorship can occur at both at a personal level and at an organizational or institutional levels.
Example: If you are a finance professional, you can guide the internees or other junior staff at your organization.
On the other hand, you can also provide mentorship at an individual level. For example, if you are a professional who is also a Muslim, you can offer free mentorship to young Muslim kids to help them get a practical education and guidance in their lives, say at an Islamic institute.
There are many misconceptions about mentorships. It’s important to make it clear from the get go that mentorship is not about the following things:
- It’s not about your looks and sense of style in front of juniors.
- It’s also not about overstating your skills/knowledge and underestimating the skills of the mentee. It is not about showing off your expertise
According to David Clutterbuck, an academic who studied mentoring relationships, mentorship can be brocken down into a number of key functions. To make it easy to remember what mentorship is all about, Clutterbuck coined an acronym for what mentors do:
- Manage the relationship
- Offer mutual respect
- Respond to the learner's needs
Benefits of Mentorship on Mentor's Career Growth
While mentorship is not a “me” concept, it provides matchless benefits for all parties involved. Here are some of the key benefits of mentorship and its impact on the mentor’s own career development:
1. It keeps you grounded and in tune with what’s happening at the lower levels.
Being an experienced professional, you have sound knowledge of all the skills and tactics necessary to succeed in a give role or industry. Thus, you can guide the mentees in the best possible manner so they don’t wasting time and other resources.
In return, your mentees will also teach you something that cannot be learned from books but only through personal experiences. Yes, you learn from them too. When you are operating at a high-level position, you are likely to overlook the little things happening at ground level.
Employees at top positions are mostly concerned with strategies, revenue building, maximizing productivity, and gaining a competitive edge. They might have no idea how little oversights of the minute things are morphing into a big hurdle that can hamper productivity and efficiency.
However, by mentoring juniors at lower levels, it keeps you grounded and connected to where it all starts. You are able to stay in tune with what’s happening below you on the professional scale, and that gives you invaluable insights that help you become a better person and professional.
2. It helps you hear, see, and correct your own weaknesses.
When you are into mentoring, you are likely to get feedback from others. This will highlight your weaknesses while also motivating and recognizing you for your strengths.
Some of the weaknesses highlighted in metorship feedback are otherwise hard to notice on your own without someone pointing them out, especially as it pertains to how you related with juniors and protégéa.
Thus, you get an opportunity to work on the weaknesses and improve your skills.
3. It helps you hone your listening skills.
Since your ultimate goal is to teach the other person, you work hard to listen and understand their views and where they are coming from. In this way, you learn to listen more and provide relevant suggestions and helpful feedback in a way that may be new to you.
Honing your listening skills is transferable and will come in handy in other sectors too and will help you perform better in your work and career.
Many new mentors stumble and trip over themselves in their initial meetings about what to say. However, mentorship is more about listening than speaking. Over time you learn to pay attention, keep up the focus, and listen carefully and attentively.
4. It helps you polish your leadership skills.
Since every mentee is different, you learn how to teach the same concept in multiple ways to cater to different people with unique idosyncracies. And just like planning and completing your job-related tasks, you plan to teach your mentee and achieve developmental goals with them.
5. It fosters good will from other people.
Another thing that is often ignored by many of us is goodwill. Mentors are considered the right person to go to when you’re seeking help.
By mentoring others, you build a positive image in people’s eyes. Peers and colleagues start giving you more respect; they listen to you, value your opinion, and present more opportunities to you.
Needless to say, good will from more people wishing you well is imperative for anyone get opportunities and go farther in their career.
6. It opens up opportunities for lucrative consultancy services.
When your mentees solve challenges and achieve their goals successfully following your guidance and mentorship, they are more likely to remember you always. There is a high chance that the mentees will refer you for paid consultancy or training in their firms as well.
Moreover, mentees can even offer you some kind of involvement in a joint business venture or just an opportunity for a consulting firm, which will be a step forward in your career.
In other words, when you are teaching your juniors, you are preparing and nuturing new talent. This talent can open new and unexpected doors of opportunity for you.
7. It sharpens your problem-solving skills.
Being a mentor, you come across many problems. Every mentee tells of a different problem in a different scenario. Instead of getting mesmerized by it all and giving up, you learn to adapt accordingly so as to resolve all manner of problems and issues.
This practice of resolving issues, enhances your problem-solving skills, which are transferable to other sectors and which are highly valued for career growth and development in all industries.
8. It promotes and grows your social and professional network.
As a mentor, you will come across many people and build strong social connections with protégés from a wide range of industries, which inevitably expands your own social network.
Some of the people you mentor, especially if they are young, starting out, and still growing in their professional lives, can end up in positions of high authority, which can prove invaluable to you. This network can open doors of opportunities and growth for you in unexpected ways.
9. It enhances your own curriculum vitae.
Mentoring experience matters a lot and is valued when you seeking new job opportunities. Besides this, if you are starting your business, skills learned through mentoring can come in very hand and help you succeed.
10. It brings great inner satisfaction, joy, and peace.
Mental peace and inner satisfaction are some of the best things you get from becoming a mentor – knowing that you are helping someone, improving someone else’s life and giving back to society in your own small way. And inner peace and satisfaction has a direct positive impact on your career development and overall quality of life.
Moreover, a mentor notices their mentees achieving success thanks to their guidance, it brings unmatched joy and satisfaction. It automatically motivates you to become a better mentor to more people in order to unlock more people’s potential to achiece success.
And the more people you take under your wings and succeed under your mentorship, the more satisfaction and happiness you get. That inadvertently gives your more self drive, continues to grow your network, and it all brings a positive ripple effect on your own career.
Thus, mentorship brings a host of benefits not just for the mentee, but also for the mentor. The benefits for the mentor might be subtle, but they are nonetheless significant. They can lead to greater career growth and development not to mention inner peace and satisfaction.
So, are you a mentor? What benefits have you gained, and how has it been helpful in your career and development? Share in the comments section below.