The Benefits of Mentoring for Mentors
Most people believe that mentorship is beneficial for the mentees but what's in it for the mentors? Here are some of the conventional and not so conventional benefits of becoming a mentor, along with quotes from mentors and tips for your organizations' mentoring success!
By now most people know the usual reasons why it’s beneficial to become a mentor, including:
You can polish your communication skills by asking thoughtful questions and practicing active listening.
You can become a better supervisor by developing effective feedback skills and increasing your level of empathy and emotional intelligence.
By connecting with mentees, you can grow your own network.
By advising mentees, as they move on to have successes of their own, you can increase your organizational reputation.
These are all great outcomes but honestly, they’re just the surface of what you could be achieving. What about the less tangible benefits that can have a continuing impact on your career? Let’s look past the obvious and consider how you can be mindful about your own growth as a mentor and beyond.
Mentoring is a great opportunity for you to reflect on your career.
Consider how you got to where you are currently, the strengths that make you an effective mentor and if you are doing all you should be doing to continue growing. Leading by example is an important mentor skill, so when you’re working with your mentee on development goals, why not take this opportunity to map some out for yourself? You can hold each other accountable, which also helps to alleviate some of that lopsided power dynamic that some mentees can find challenging.
"I have definitely enjoyed the opportunity to be a mentor. The Mentorship Program provided not only a great leadership opportunity, but also a great learning experience as well. Despite being in similar fields, my mentee and I came from very different educational backgrounds -- so it was very interesting learning about how she’s using her medical and engineering experience to make an impact in her role. Overall, I greatly enjoyed the experience of being a mentor and would recommend it to a colleague."
-Mentor at Cardinal Health
Another great benefit of mentoring is learning.
And of course I’m not just talking about mentees here. After all, one of the best ways to learn a skill is to teach others how to do it. You have an opportunity to learn from your mentee as they’re developing their own skills. If you’re helping your mentee work on their feedback skills, have them give you feedback on your mentoring skills, such as how well you listen.
"I realized that my mentee could provide insights to my sales staff...I want her to share ins-outs of how she sells...growing sales is a huge priority for me and I think it’s a win-win."
- Mentor at 21 Century FOX
Be creative about expanding your skills.
Find other ways to be creative about expanding your skills. Depending upon your program’s set up, timing, focus and budget, you may be able to participate in some activities together. Take advantage of online learning opportunities with your mentee. Perhaps attending a conference or workshop together would be beneficial. Or if you need something simpler, you could read a book together and discuss it. Brainstorm with your mentee and see if you can come up with something fun and innovative that helps you both achieve your goals.
Regardless of what outcomes you’d like to have from your time mentoring, strive to get more bang for your buck by being mindful and strategic. Showing your mentee that learning is ongoing, collaborative and a gift from many sources is a win-win for you both.
Are your mentors ready to be successful?
Jenn Labin, mentoring author and ATD master trainer outlines why mentor training is critical to success.
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