While it is common knowledge that mentors have a lot to offer mentees, mentorship is a mutually beneficial relationship. There are perks to being a mentor in addition to the benefits that they offer their pupils.
If you are new to the purpose of mentorship, don’t sweat it! You are in the right place. Here, we’ll unpack what it’s like to be a mentor, the different roles you’ll have, and the benefits involved.
If you’re planning a mentoring program, we’ve also sprinkled several free resources throughout this article to help you decide how best to run your mentorship program.
Before diving into the specific benefits of mentorship, let’s define what it entails!
What is mentorship, and how does it work?
A mentorship is an interpersonal relationship between an individual seeking to learn (the mentee) and another who can provide said information based on their experience (the mentor).
Mentorship has been shown to increase employee engagement and retention in addition to accelerating the career growth of mentees.
There are also several types of mentoring.
There is also peer mentoring, where individuals of similar experience levels share information with one another and reverse mentoring, where a junior employee mentors a senior, typically on upcoming technology and younger generational thinking.
What is the role of a mentor?
A mentor is anyone who provides information to a mentee about a discipline in which they have extensive experience/knowledge.
Many people think that a mentor needs to be an industry veteran who knows virtually everything – and they can be (although that’s unlikely). However, the amount of knowledge you have about a particular area is not as important as the relevance of your knowledge to your mentee.
Mentors are extremely valuable to mentees as they provide them with required information that is tailored to how the mentee wants to grow in their career.
As long as the mentor is passionately committed to the mentee and can contribute to their desired career trajectory, the mentorship will be a success. After all, 87% of people who participated in a mentorship program stated that it made them feel more empowered in their careers.
If your potential mentors are still unsure of their potential, we also have a free guide on how to be a great mentor, which may provide some guidance. Download for free here!
7 reasons why being a mentor is important
Mentorship can truly be life-changing to mentees who are looking to grow in their careers.
There are numerous benefits that mentors provide to mentees, likely more than can be expressed in any concise list.
Nonetheless, we have compiled a few key benefits below that paint a fuller picture of the impact that mentors have on mentees.
1. Mentors support growth
The ultimate goal of mentorship is to stimulate growth in mentees. Mentors provide the knowledge, advice, and direction to mentees on how best to go about developing themselves professionally and personally.
2. Mentors help with goal-setting
Typically, mentors will assist the mentee in setting goals for their career. These goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable (realistic), Relevant, and Time-Bound (SMART). This goes hand-in-hand with a discussion of what smaller, measurable steps the mentee can take to continue to pursue their desired endgame.
3. Mentors serve as a reservoir of knowledge
The most valuable resource that a mentor can provide a mentee is their acquired knowledge. This can save mentees from repeating mistakes that their mentor has made or fast-track them in accomplishing some of the mentor’s wins.
4. Mentors ensure accountability
It is easy to receive helpful tips and commit to growth at the moment… only to get distracted and forget everything a week later. Mentorship can provide a means of accountability for mentees as mentors inquire about the specific steps that they have taken to reach their goal in the time since they last met.
5. Mentors offer encouragement
Regardless of where a mentee is, it is important to offer encouragement to them for their small wins or hopeful prospects. When mentees inevitably encounter roadblocks or when they finally breakthrough on one of their goals, mentors can be there to offer hopeful encouragement and celebratory reflection to propel them forward.
6. Mentors serve as trusted allies
When starting out in any new position or industry, it can be hard to find one’s tribe. A mentor is an immediate contact that mentees can rely on as a trusted ally in any situation. This helps mentees ultimately feel more established and supported in their workplace.
7. Mentors offer constructive feedback
While encouragement is important to keep mentees from becoming discouraged, offering constructive feedback is also useful for their personal and professional growth.
Mentors can observe what mentees are currently doing and provide them with actionable feedback to keep them from common pitfalls, identify blind spots in their strategy, and fast-track them to success.
7 Benefits of being a mentor
The preconceived notion that mentors only exist to provide mentees with knowledge without gaining anything in return is wholly inaccurate. As mentioned previously, mentorship is mutually beneficial to those involved. There are several skills and attributes of mentorship that ultimately better the mentor and make it an opportunity worth pursuing. Below are the main examples:
1. Enhanced leadership skills
By entering a mentor-mentee relationship, a mentor is assuming a leadership position. They will naturally develop their leadership skills by walking with mentees through their struggles and accomplishments and providing a healthy mix of encouragement and feedback. This will prepare them for managing larger groups of people in the future.
2. Increased happiness and a sense of purpose
A mentorship is an interdependent relationship which provides a sense of purpose for all involved. The mentor will get to see the real-life impact of their knowledge and advice on a mentor. This, in turn, will increase their recognition of their role as it relates to their purpose and their joy in being able to help someone else.
3. Improved empathy skills
When a mentee encounters challenges, it is a great opportunity for mentors to practice empathy. They may not have encountered a specific situation but they can work to understand what it is like to be in that situation and provide outside advice on what to do to move beyond their roadblocks.
4. Improved active listening skills
This goes hand-in-hand with the last point. In order to engage their empathy, mentors must listen to their mentees’ struggles and imagine what it would be like or remember what it was like to encounter them. Processing a mentee’s comments before speaking will ultimately allow a mentor to provide a better, tailored mix of helpful encouragement and feedback.
5. Avenue to consider new perspectives
It is important to be aware of one’s “tunnel vision”. After being in an industry/job for a significant length of time, everyone develops blind spots or preconceived notions about their area of work. Meeting with a mentee can, therefore, provide opportunities to learn from a new perspective and expand their knowledge of their industry and role.
6. Improved communication skills
A mentorship can only be successful if it is based on healthy communication. Actively listening to a mentee and then providing tailored advice in return is a natural exercise in communication which can be applied to any other relationship.
7. Authentic relationships
By walking with a mentee through the highs and lows of their professional journey, mentors develop authentic relationships with their pupils. Additionally, the sharing of vulnerable stories from their own past contributes to the potential intimacy in a mentoring relationship which improves the relational skills of all participants.
Mentorship provides several benefits for both mentors and mentees. In addition to growing a mentee’s career and providing them with crucial knowledge that will equip them to be better leaders, mentors also strengthen their own leadership and communication skills.
It’s no surprise, then, that more and more companies have decided to adopt formal mentorship programs to support and grow their employees.
However, we know that crafting and facilitating a successful mentorship program can be a daunting task.
That’s why Together developed a mentorship platform to seamlessly connect mentees with relevant mentors determined by the skills and experience they want to advance their careers.
For those managing the mentoring program, Together makes it easy to keep track each relationship at scale and report on the impact it has on the organization.
If you’re ready to accelerate your employee growth through mentorship, connect with our team to see how Together’s mentorship platform makes it easy.