From workplace schemes to life mentoring sessions, you’ve probably heard about mentoring in some context or another and the benefits mentees can reap from it. You may have even experienced these benefits first hand at some point in your career. But have you ever thought about the advantages of mentoring for the mentor?
If you haven’t, we don’t blame you. Such considerations often get overlooked, which is understandable considering that the main aim of mentoring is to help mentees develop and improve their careers or home lives. Plus, the very definition of a mentor focuses on the advantages that a mentor provides to their protégé. For example, the Cambridge Dictionary definition of a mentor is ‘a person who gives a younger or less experienced person help and advice’ – they’re an adviser, someone who encourages, trains, teaches and aids another.
So, it follows that the benefits of mentoring schemes are mutually exclusive, right? Wrong. Mentoring is just as important and beneficial to the mentor than to the mentee when it comes to career development and growth. And we're here to tell you why...
The Benefits of Mentoring:
- Boosts confidence
- Improves mental health
- Broadens horizons
- Helps career progression
- Enhances skillset
1) Mentoring will boost your confidence
Becoming a mentor is a great way of solidifying your knowledge and reinforcing your strengths and abilities. After all, you wouldn’t have been selected to be in a position of trust and responsibility if you didn’t have valuable experience and insight to share with others. Just achieving mentor status in the first place will boost your confidence but that’s not the only reason that mentoring can help with self-esteem…
With your mentee’s future success in your hands and their eyes upon you, you will want to show your best self. As a result, you will end up pushing yourself to grow and become an even better version of yourself. This self-development, coupled with the increased sense of self-worth that you will feel as you watch someone thrive under your guidance, will leave you feeling secure in your role and more confident in your career overall as a result.
2) Mentoring can help your mental health
The relationship between mentor and mentee is founded on trust and mutual respect. Not only does such a relationship add meaning to our lives, it also allows us to be more open too. Now, we know that being a mentor is all about sharing experience, but we’re talking about disclosing information of a more sensitive or private nature, such as our feelings and emotions. Research by the Harvard Business Review found that formal mentoring programmes provide an opportunity for both parties to discuss difficult topics, such as anxiety and depression. Talking to others about our mental health breaks down stigma and creates a support system which is essential to our wellbeing. Aside from this, connecting with others and talking through issues is cathartic and therapeutic, leaving us feeling happier and more able to cope with our issues.
In addition, mentorship is incredibly rewarding as you watch someone develop both personally and professionally. Seeing such results will leave you with a strong sense of achievement and job satisfaction, which boosts your overall wellbeing. This fulfilment leads to increased personal productivity and achievement in the workplace, thereby increasing happiness further – it’s a cycle of contentment!
3) You’ll learn something new
Now, you may be thinking that we’ve got this mixed up – the mentee learns from the mentor, right? True. But that doesn’t mean that mentors can’t learn a thing or two from their protégé in return.
By interacting with someone who’s new to the industry and (most likely) of a younger generation, you can gain fresh perspectives on certain aspects of business. For example, mentees may offer new ways of approaching a task or have knowledge on something that complements your job role that you weren’t aware of. They may even get you to assess your old ways or think differently about something you’ve been stuck on for a while by offering a new angle for tackling a problem. It’s often said that 2 heads are better than one and this sums up the mentoring relationship beautifully: mentoring won’t just broaden your mentees horizons, but yours too.
4) You’re more likely to progress in your career
A study by Sun Microsystems found that mentors are 20% more likely to receive a pay rise and 6 times more likely to be promoted than those who didn’t participate in mentoring. But, why is this? Well, taking time out of your schedule to train and help the next generation demonstrates that you love your job and are passionate about your field. It tells others that you’re dedicated and committed and willing to go the extra mile by completing activities outside of your job’s normal remits. It’s this passion that helps mentors stand out from their colleagues as going above and beyond in their career.
Plus, research has found that mentors have stronger perceptions of career success than their peers, which can lead to a greater drive to move your career forward, a passion that won’t go unnoticed by your boss. So, it’s confirmed: mentoring is not just something to put on your CV, it’s a way of moving up the career ladder too.
5) You’ll develop valuable skills
Mentoring requires strong interpersonal, communication, leadership and management skills: all things that employers love to see. That’s because such skills and capabilities are not only key employability skills, but they also signpost your competence and promise for the future. As you gain experience as a mentor you will find that these skills get stronger – after all, you either use it or lose it – and you may just find yourself first in line for new career opportunities as a result.
These are just a handful of the benefits that you can experience in a mentoring position. However, it is clear that mentoring isn’t just for the mentee; mentors also stand to gain a lot from the process that can aid them in their current job and beyond. So, next time a mentoring opportunity comes up at work, why not take it? You may just find that it transforms your career.