“A career mentor is someone who agrees to share their skills, knowledge, expertise, and professional contacts with you,” say Idealistcareers.com. “People with mentors earn higher salaries, are promoted more frequently, and report higher job satisfaction than those without mentors.”
The benefits to the mentee are therefore very clear. But how does the mentor benefit from the arrangement? Admore Recruitment suggests that being a mentor is about sharing success.
“A mentor is not only someone to provide you with support and advice, but it is also someone to share your successes with,“ they explain. “This makes the whole experience rewarding for them as well as for you.” Being a mentor can help revitalise your own career, help you to stand out to employers, develop management qualities, reflect on your own career and to create a legacy by nurturing talent in your industry and passing on your skills and values.
Let’s look at some of the benefits of becoming a mentor in more detail.
Why be a mentor?
- It’s rewarding – you could change someone’s future for the better
- It can advance your own career
- It helps you re-evaluate your own career
- You may benefit from a fresh perspective of someone less immersed in your industry or profession
- You will improve your leadership skills
- Your mentee could return the favour in the future – you’re creating a future leader after all
If you’d like to learn more about becoming a mentor, you can sign-up for more information from Lincoln College, here.
Now it’s time to find out how to be the best career mentor possible.
Tips for being an effective career mentor
- Set mutual expectations – at the beginning, think about what you both want to gain from the relationship and agree on them. Establish how exactly they want you to help them. Do they want solely advice? Or are they expecting the relationship to eventually lead to a job in your company? Will your advice-giving consist of a monthly coffee meeting? Or can your mentee call you in the middle of the night to discuss an impending presentation they need to give? Be sure to set the ground rules early so neither party is disappointed or oversteps their boundaries.
- Lead by example – a mentor should be a positive role model. Remember that this person is using you a an example for how they should behave in your industry or company, in terms of ethics, values, standards, attitudes and more. It’s a big responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Remember that your mentee will also be affiliated with you, so your reputation in the industry can also reflect on them in the future – if they’re applying for jobs, for example.
- Share your mistakes as well as your achievements – one of the best things you can give to your mentee is the power of hindsight. Be forthcoming with your mistakes and let your mentee learn from them. It can also have the added advantage of strengthening your relationship and building trust.
- Find opportunities for them to develop/learn – Think of ways in which your mentee can develop their knowledge and experience, whether it be inviting them to networking events where they can meet your peers and get comfortable in business situations, getting them involved in conferences, workshops or short professional courses, or simply sending them a weekly email with links to useful articles or blog posts.
- Celebrate their achievements – don’t let your meetings just revolve around the tough parts like dealing with a challenging situation at work, or preparing for a promotion. Take time to celebrate achievements and milestones to keep your mentee focussed and motivated. Sometimes a celebratory meal can go just as far in helping to galvanise someone as a 5-step plan.