Why You Should Mentor Someone
March 03, 2016 Jim Iyoob
The real business world is so different from what you learn in the classroom. I remember immediately after my degree, and I got my first job at D&B in Dickson City PA. I thought it was so easy putting into practice my educational knowledge, but alas, that was far from it. There was a lot to learn about drafting strategies and implementing them, workplace dynamics among others.
Then a miracle happened that propelled me into leadership, I met Matt Rocco who was the big boss of that center at the time and he took the challenge and said he would like to mentor me, he saw something in me many other leaders did not, I was young with no experience but he looked passed that and saw “what I could become” with the right mentoring. My mentor had ample experience and was willing to show me the ropes to climb the corporate ladder. It was a miracle because, what I could have spent years learning, I spent a couple of months to master. I accumulated several other mentors in my career and appreciate the impact they had on my life and my career, this is why today I continue to mentor others to pass on the benefits.
However, enough of my story, my aim today is to share with you the benefits of mentoring others and some tips on how you can do it too.
Importance of mentoring others
- It develops them
Through mentorship, you help others to build their careers in the right direction. You will use your personal and professional experiences to guide and mold them. During a mentorship period, your mentee looks up to you for guidance. Equipping them with life skills or street smarts will move them from just having the knowledge to executing it.
- It improves your leadership skills
Mentoring others enhances your leadership proficiency. When you develop and grow others, it helps you grow as well. Your leadership is not only measured by how far you took the company but also by the strength of the successors, you leave behind. If you are mentoring a junior manager, you will also raise employees’ confidence in you. I spoke to one of my mentees yesterday and the feeling I got when I heard about his promotions, his stories of how I affected him and how he affected others is just amazing.
- It is a learning opportunity
As much as you are teaching someone, when you step out of your usual space, you will learn something new. Your mentee is not there to listen only, the questions they ask may produce fresh ideas of doing things. Exposure to different thought lines is what will inspire you.
How to start
- Make it two-way relationship
Like any other relationship, mentorship is bilateral. As a mentor, you will give and receive something to the mentee. In essence, the best mentorship relationships that I have had were mutually beneficial. No one likes to give always; receiving at a bare minimum some feedback is important.
Be patient with one another. After accepting to mentor someone, allow them to process things at their pace. You are there to help them grow not drown their dreams.
- Get the right fit
To have a successful mentorship, please select carefully the mentee you want to mentor. Not everyone is the perfect fit for you, and trying to work out something with the wrong person will leave both of you frustrated. It is better to mentor someone who wants to take a similar career path because you will provide practical guidance.
Remember, mentorship is not about what you know in theory but what you have practiced. It all boils down to the particular expertise you want to transfer to your mentee.
- Draw some boundaries
Mentorship comes in different forms, but when it is about your career, keep it that way. At the beginning of your relationship, set some rules and boundaries to act as guidance. Be in charge of the relationship and share relevant information. For example, if your mentee wants to learn about logistics and your expertise is in marketing, refer them to another expert. In as much as you may have knowledge in that area, if it is not your core area, hand them to someone else.
In conclusion, mentorship is a giving your time and expertise to someone else. Winston Churchill put it together so well, “We make a living by what we get, but make a life by what we give”. Step out and mentor someone, they will return the favor and the world will be a better place.
Have you mentored someone today? Love to hear about your story.
This blog was first published on LinkedIn