Mentoring —both having a mentor and being a mentor—can prove invaluable for those later in their careers, not just those on their way up.
To be successful you need help from others, and mentoring ambitious young people creates a network of rising professionals who can help inform you and make valuable connections for you.
Mentoring helps you keep in touch with the younger generation. As a leader of any institution, knowing the next generation’s perspective can greatly influence your thinking. A rising professional in her 20s, for example, might have a very different perspective on achieving gender equality than your older contemporaries have. Mentoring gives you access to people of different backgrounds, with different perspectives, which can help to influence your own thinking.
Mentoring younger people can also give you optimism about the future. It connects you to people who not only care about their careers and professions but about trying to improve the world. It gives insight into how younger generations work, talk, and communicate. And on occasion it gives you access to someone who can help you work out your iPhone!
Encouragement from a mentor can be critical to success, particularly for early-career professionals. But what’s in it for the mentor?
1) Mentoring helps you become a more effective leader.
A mentoring experience can help you develop your own leadership skills which you can then use to advise, coach and develop your own staff.
2) Better understanding your own experience
Your experiences may seem quite ordinary to you but when you participate in a mentoring program you will see how beneficial and helpful those experiences can be to those who are upcoming in your profession.
3) Mentoring hones your transferable skill-set
Mentoring teaches you how to accommodate others’ ways of thinking and working.
4) Mentoring gets you out of your comfort zone
Mentoring gives you the chance to get out of your comfort zone and use your expertise in other areas. It also improves your listening skills and using your listening skills to improve your ability to give guidance.
5) The rewards of a mentoring are a two-way street.
You will learn that you don’t have to be in the exact same discipline to be helpful to a mentee. You will also find that mentees have a lot to offer the mentor — you may find yourself learning from them.
Mentoring isn’t just about helping other people or about being altruistic, it can make us better managers and better leaders. Mentoring therefore remains important throughout life.