Many companies talk about the importance of mentorship, and some even have established mentorship programs. Regardless, you can always take an opportunity to mentor someone within your company or industry. If you feel you can teach them, reach out. They are probably eager to learn.
What you may not realize is how important mentorship is for mentors themselves. Many people think that only mentees benefit, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The reality is that mentorship is transformative for both the mentor and mentee.
What is Mentorship?
Many people confuse mentorship with coaching. The two are actually quite different. Coaching is a more focused version of on-the-job training, where someone needs help gaining a specific skillset. Coaching can be carried out by anyone who is an expert in the required skills, whether the person is a colleague, boss, or even someone junior to the learner.
Mentorship, on the other hand, is carried out by a mentor who is a leader in the organization or industry. The mentor usually has a broad range of knowledge rather than a specific skill set, and may also have a strong network of contacts that can benefit the mentee.
For their part, the mentee is focused on a long-term relationship that will help them grow in their career. The mentor and mentee work together to determine the goals, purpose, and duration of the mentorship.
Must-Have Personality Traits to be a Successful Mentor
A mentor must have, or be willing to develop, specific traits to be a successful mentor. Here are some of the important attributes:
- Patience. Obviously, a mentor will be working with someone who has less experience in the industry or organization. As a result, it requires patience to be a mentor.
- Passion. Mentoring is not for someone who is cynical, disengaged, or burned out. A great mentor should be passionate about what they do.
- Experience. A great mentor will have both experience in the field or organization, and experience developing others. This experience helps them be effective in the mentorship.
- Desire to Help. A mentor must honestly desire to help the mentee. Being stingy with time, contacts, or advice will not create a successful mentorship.
Mentorship’s Effects on the Mentor
Mentorship has a variety of positive effects, not only on the mentee but for the mentor as well. As a mentor, there are many ways your career and personal perspective can benefit. Here are some of the many benefits for a mentor:
- Leadership Skills. When you mentor someone, your leadership skills grow. You learn more about providing feedback, communicating well, and relating to others.
- New Perspectives. When you mentor, you often find yourself learning from your mentee as often as he or she learns from you. The interaction can give you a fresh perspective on your career and your organization.
- Energize Your Career. While you’re focusing on helping your mentee develop their career, you’ll find yourself reflecting on why your own career has meant so much to you. Also, your mentee’s enthusiasm will rub off on you, re-energizing your attitude.
- Learn New Technology. Younger people haven’t been doing things the way you have been your entire career. As a result, you’ll learn new processes and technologies through mentorship.
- Increased Productivity. If your mentee works with you directly, you’ll find that delegating specific tasks to them will help you be more productive with the rest of your time. As your workload lightens, you can focus on other things that are often put off.
- Positive Energy and Purpose. When you help someone else, it shifts the energy in your life. Instead of being focused on your troubles, you’ll be focused on helping someone else grow. That not only helps you be more positive, but it also gives you an increased sense of purpose.
- Deep Friendship. Many times, a mentorship can turn into a life-long friendship. For instance, the golfers mentored by the late Arnold Palmer considered him a close friend even decades after the formal mentorship ended. Gaining new friends is a great benefit of mentorship for mentors.
Most people don’t realize all the positive benefits that mentorship has on the mentor, as well as the mentee. Interested in becoming a mentor? We can help you learn the steps. Contact our office to learn how to be a mentor today!