Recently we looked at the benefits of finding a mentor for your career, but what if you’re on the other side of the mentorship coin — are you ready to become a mentor to someone?
Just as burgeoning mentees can become more proficient, confident and successful in their career paths when paired up with the proper mentor, there are ample opportunities for growth and personal development for leaders who choose to become mentors.
The benefits of becoming a mentor
A 2011 Forbes article by Lisa Quast cites some very substantial benefits of being a mentor. According to recent studies, mentors are 20 percent more likely to get a raise than those not in mentorship programs, and they are a whopping six times more likely to have been promoted to a bigger job than others.
There are also non-financial benefits to becoming a mentor — although no less beneficial to your career and personal growth. As Heather Huhman explains in a U.S. News article, a mentor has the chance to learn new skills from the mentee he/she is working with (especially if the mentee is of a younger generation with more advanced technological skills) while developing leadership and management skills. In the process of sharing your knowledge with someone else, you’re practicing teaching and communication skills, which will inevitably grow your own leadership abilities. And of course there is the intangible benefit of feeling good about helping someone along their professional journey, which can improve your overall feeling of self-worth, loyalty to your industry, and gratification in your career.
How to become a mentor
If you’re ready to try out mentorship, you needn’t sit around and wait to be approached by someone who’s looking for a mentor. Get out there and start networking, and seek out opportunities on your end.
In a Forbes article, Sujan Patel gives some simple tips for becoming a mentor. First, make it known that you’re out there: Announce it on social media or in a personal blog, and use your blog as an outlet to share your insight and words of wisdom — you might just have a reader out there who’d like to learn more and will get in touch with you. Be careful not to be arrogant or too forward, however; nobody likes a know-it-all, nor are they interested in unsolicited advice if you have not yet established a mentorship relationship. But stay active in your career circles, and be inviting to potential mentees.
Being an effective mentor
Once you’ve established yourself as a mentor with someone, make sure that this two-way relationship is mutually beneficial. In an Entrepreneur article, Matthew Arrington recommends that you seek out a group that you and your mentee can join which aligns with your mentorship goals. Also, be aware — and respectful — of the time commitment involved in a mentorship relationship. For both of your sakes, set reasonable time parameters for when and how long you will meet or chat, and don’t over-commit to more than you can reasonably take on. If you should feel that your time is not being used wisely or being respected in the relationship, don’t be afraid to speak up when it’s time to move on and end the mentorship.