How Becoming a Mentor Can Benefit Your Career
“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” – William Arthur Ward
Over the course of your career, you may be presented with the opportunity to be mentored or to become a mentor to someone else. If you do, consider yourself lucky – it can be one of the most beneficial and rewarding professional experiences. Mentoring is a relationship between two people that has the goal of both professional and personal development. While the focus is usually on how the mentee can grow, the partnership can be mutually beneficial, with many positive and often unexpected outcomes enjoyed by the mentor. Mentors who are willing to invest their time in developing someone more junior to them will not only feel personally rewarded, but also see some great tangible professional benefits. We delve into the topic below, exploring the top ways that becoming a mentor can benefit your career.
It will make you a better communicator
If you have not been a mentor in the past, you’ll quickly learn that clear and effective communication is crucial to the success of the partnership. This not only includes your oral communications skills, but also listening skills – reminding you how to listen actively rather than passively. It also offers you the opportunity to provide honest feedback and leadership advice, allowing you to practice being constructive and concise. Being a mentor is also great for strengthening interpersonal skills, which are very relevant and transferrable to your own career.
It encourages you to reflect
Your role as a mentor will mostly be in sharing your own knowledge and experiences in the form of advice and guidance. In doing so, you will find yourself reflecting on your decisions and practices, as the mentee is likely to ask questions about each experience you share, giving you further reason to be more analytical. This is beneficial to your own career as it allows you to consider new perspectives, assessing your own values and goals during discussions. The mentee is also likely to raise points you’ve potentially not considered in the past, leading to professional development for the mentor – often prompting them to consider new ways of thinking.
It’s a rewarding experience
One of the primary reasons that many pursue mentoring is to give back to those establishing their careers, resulting in a personally rewarding experience. There is great personal satisfaction in helping someone else grow, particularly when you see them achieve goals they once considered out of reach. Being a mentor also makes you and your experience feel valued, contributing greatly to self-satisfaction when you witness your mentee succeed. This positivity can transfer directly into your job satisfaction, leading to greater successes and productivity in your own work thanks to a happier frame of mind.
It develops your leadership skills
While many mentors are already established leaders, the mentoring relationship tends to be different than that of a manager and employee. It provides an opportunity for mentors to develop a different element of leadership, through a more open and less formal relationship. Mentors will guide and encourage their mentee without the pressures of deadlines and required results, which can make the mentor a better manager, employee and team member. For those seeking a promotion or new opportunity, the desire and ability to help others grow is a great quality to exhibit and could be the point of difference you’ve been seeking.
It increases your professional credibility
If your mentoring experience is within your own organisation, chances are the partnership will benefit the organisation, as well as the individuals. When your employer sees such benefits, it is likely to positively influence your reputation and perceived value within the company. This is particularly useful if you are looking to progress within the company, as well as retaining your position during tough times. At any stage of your career, the more you can do to increase your value, the better off you will be.
It’s clear that mentoring can benefit the mentor in a number of ways, from increased personal value, to greater skills and job satisfaction. The next time someone shows interest in your career, knowledge and experiences, take the time to evaluate how you could help them – it could end up being the most rewarding experience for you.
This article was written by Laura Hutton on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB.