A mentor is someone who can offer wisdom and encouragement to a mentee. By tapping into their personal experience, they can provide unique insights into situations that the mentee may not otherwise consider. A good mentor builds up the mentee and helps them become the best version of themselves.
The mentee is usually the one leading the mentorship. It’s usually on their own accord that they’ve sought out a mentor and mentorship program. It's the mentee's goals that the mentor and mentee are working together to achieve. Most mentees are just in need of someone to encourage them, provide accountability and motivate them to do their best.
When it comes to a workplace mentoring program, there are benefits for everyone involved: the mentor, mentee and the organization overall. For example, researchers have found that the promotion and retention rates of minorities can be improved over 30 percent for those who are involved in a mentoring program. So how can you be an inspiring mentor?
Tips to be an inspiring mentor
Often, the character of the mentor plays a big role in determining the success of a mentorship. How much a mentor gets out of a workplace mentoring program can depend on the quality of the mentor.
If you want to be an inspiration to your mentee, here are a few tips on how to do that.
- Serve. The most outstanding mentors are those who genuinely want to give back and make a difference in someone’s life. No matter where you are in your career, being a mentor can also enhance your own skills and life experience, even if you’re already a business leader.
- Share. When it comes to being an inspiring mentor, sharing is key. Don’t be afraid to pass along your knowledge and also your contacts. Introducing your mentee to your network doesn’t take anything away from you and helps them build their network.
- Positivity. Rather than focusing on the skills that a mentee lacks, an inspirational mentor will help them develop their strengths. Be realistic about your mentee’s weak points and help them focus on developing the things they’re good at.
- Give. Good mentors are in it to help others rather than gain something for themselves. If you give of yourself without expecting something in return, it can make a big difference in your mentoring relationship.
- Be real and authentic. Connect with your mentee by sharing some of your struggles. Mentors that have stories to tell show that overcoming hurdles and obstacles is possible. It can encourage your mentee to keep going when they are struggling.
- Engage. Talented mentors know what it takes to engage with others. They are skilled at drawing out the best from their mentees
Creating an inspirational mentorship
There’s no simple explanation or secret formula to ensure that a mentoring relationship will succeed, but there are some factors that should form the basis of every mentorship connection.
- Respect. The mentor and mentee may have very different backgrounds, personalities and experiences. These differences can be a great opportunity to learn from one another, but only if the level of respect is maintained on both sides.
- Guidance. The mentor’s role is to guide, and help the mentee develop themselves both professionally and personally. The mentor should recognize that they are the leader and advisor in the relationship.
- Trust. The mentee needs to have confidence in the mentor and trust that the mentor has the mentee’s best interests at heart. Once trust is established, the advice that the mentor provides will be easier to accept and act on. If there is no trust in the foundation of the connection, there will be no growth.
- Encourage. Mentoring relationships don’t only focus on the mentee’s successes, failures and opportunities to improve should be discussed as well. Good mentors know how to talk to and encourage their protégé. Resilience is an important quality in any line of work and mentees should be taught to develop it.
Inspiring mentor quotes
Mentoring is a part of everyone’s lives, whether they recognize that it’s happening or not. Informal mentorship happens throughout one’s life. . Several famous people have offered their own thoughts about the importance of mentoring.
If you need some encouragement or want some words of wisdom to offer your mentee, here are inspirational quotes from well-known people about the benefits of mentoring.
“The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.” — Steven Spielberg
“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill
“What I think the mentor gets is the great satisfaction of helping somebody along, helping somebody take advantage of an opportunity that maybe he or she did not have.” — Clint Eastwood
“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” — Isaac Newton
“Show me a successful individual and I’ll show you someone who had real positive influences in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living—if you do it well I’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing the way. A mentor.” — Denzel Washington
“Mentoring is a two-way street. The mentor gets wise while mentoring and the mentee gains knowledge through his/her mentor.” -Marisol Gonzalez
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
“Search for role models you can look up to and people who take an interest in your career. But here’s an important warning: you don’t have to have mentors who look like you. Had I been waiting for a black, female Soviet specialist mentor, I would still be waiting. Most of my mentors have been old white men, because they were the ones who dominated my field.” — Condoleeza Rice
“My job is not to be easy on people. My job is to take these great people we have and to push them and make them even better.” —Steve Jobs
It’s important to remember that no matter who you are or what industry you work in, there is always an opportunity to mentor others. Throughout history, there have been examples of inspiring men and women achieving amazing feats thanks to the support and encouragement of their mentors. From celebrities to athletes to academics - everyone can be inspired by mentorship.