A Rewarding Experience
When you have something to teach others, becoming a mentor can be rewarding both for you and the person you’re mentoring. Mentors:
- Share professional insights and advice
- Offer resources and connections to help their mentee
- Support, guide, encourage and model effective behavior
If you have professional expertise, you might consider becoming a mentor to someone you can help, either a coworker or someone outside of your organization. The relationship you build can also help you grow in your own career.
In honor of National Mentoring Month, here are seven benefits of mentoring in the workplace.
1. Develop Communication Skills
A mentor relationship typically involves regular meetings between the mentor and mentee, either in person at a place like a coffeeshop, or in an online video conference setting. The ideal mentorship makes the most effective use of the time you have together. That requires strong communication skills, so you as the mentor can provide the guidance the mentee is looking for and steer them in the right direction.
Mentors communicate things like their career journeys, how they’ve handled workplace challenges and ways they’ve succeeded in their careers. Whether you’re communicating verbally during a meeting, or you’re follow up with your mentee in writing via email, building a relationship with a mentee, enables you to strengthen your communication skills.
2. Practice Being a Leader and Role Model
A mentor is someone the mentee looks to for guidance. As a mentor, you can inspire your mentee by modeling leadership skills. You want to lead the mentee to positive outcomes in their career. You can help do that by exemplifying positive attributes, like confidence, empathy and creativity.
Becoming a mentor is a great way to practice leading others, especially for professionals who haven’t yet attained management or leadership positions in the workplace. With a mentee, you can develop leadership by motivating your mentee and providing them with tools to help them succeed.
3. Expand Your Knowledge
Mentors can learn just as much from their mentees as their mentees can from them. As a mentor, you get to see things from a new perspective. This might be from someone who is decades younger than you, someone who works for a company that does things differently from yours, or someone who has a unique cultural perspective. Just like mentees can ask their mentor questions to help them grow, mentors can do the same.
Your mentee may recommend resources like helpful articles, podcasts or books. Your mentee might have a different educational journey or might be pursuing unique continued learning. Simply enquiring about the mentee’s life experiences can also help you broaden your world view.
4. Build Your Network
Networking is important for most professionals. When you build relationships with others in our industry, both in person and online on sites like LinkedIn, you can increase your likelihood of being recommended for a relevant position. Networking can also help you learn about valuable non-work-related opportunities, like a professional organization to join.
As a mentor, you can grow your professional network through your mentee. Your mentee may recommend you for a professional position or introduce you to someone who could help you grow your own career. When you want to connect with a certain type of professional, you can ask your mentee if they have anyone to recommend.
5. Add to Your Credentials
Mentorship is a strong transferable skill you can add to a resume. For some manager or leadership positions, some employers will specifically look for mentorship experience. When you’re a mentor, you can add this skill to your resume and LinkedIn profile and talk about your experience with prospective employers.
As you develop other skills as a mentor – communication and relationship building, for example – you can add those to a resume, as well. You can also ask your mentee to provide you with a LinkedIn recommendation, which can boost your profile on the professional social networking site.
6. Improve Work Engagement
Mentoring someone in your industry can ignite your passion for your work. As a mentor, you might rediscover parts of your job that excite you. You may also feel a sense of fulfillment when you help others, which can positively impact your overall work experience.
Being a mentor can also boost your overall well-being. A 2020 meta-analysis of research studies in the journal “Psychological Bulletin” found helping others positively impacts your own happiness and physical and mental health. Becoming a mentor can provide meaning in your life and make you feel more fulfilled in your career journey.
7. Grow Your Career
All the positive benefits of mentorship can help you advance your career. Whether you want a promotion at your current job, or you want to switch industries and start a new career, mentorship helps you:
- Develop transferable skills, like communication, leadership and relationship building
- Expand your professional network
- Learn about helpful resources to further your professional knowledge, like podcasts, articles or classes
You may not be paid to mentor someone, but the intangible rewards can help you become more successful. Think about how to demonstrate the skills you gain from mentoring someone on your resume, on your LinkedIn profile and in interviews and discussions with employers.
Become a Mentor
If you’re interested in becoming a mentor, reach out to your network and let them know. You might post an update on LinkedIn and include details about the type of person you can help. You can also mention in conversations with colleagues that you want to be a mentor, in case they think of anyone who could benefit from the relationship. It may help to talk with your own supervisor at work to see if there’s someone in the organization you can match up with.
As a mentor, ask your mentee how you can help them. Try to dedicate time each month to connect with your mentee and provide support. Grow your relationship by adding each other on LinkedIn and by scheduling regular check-ins.
Interested in more insights for how to grow your career? Check out the Pipeline AZ blog for career tips.