Everyone always talks about the benefits of mentorship for mentees. And there are a lot of benefits – the most obvious one being that they get to learn from someone who’s doing what they one day want to do. But what’s in it for mentors? Why should they spend their time helping someone else to expand their skills? Turns out, there are just as many benefits of mentorship for mentors as there are for mentees…
Everyone always talks about the benefits of mentorship for mentees. And there are a lot of benefits – the most obvious one being that they get to learn from someone who’s doing what they one day want to do.
But what’s in it for mentors? Why should they spend their time helping someone else to expand their skills?
Turns out, there are just as many benefits of mentorship for mentors as there are for mentees…
The best way to learn is to teach. Teaching someone what you already know (or vaguely know) helps you to reinforce your knowledge of a particular topic. It also helps you to spot any gaps. You can then use this to go back and fill in those gaps so that you don’t get caught in the future.
Just because mentors are there to teach, that doesn’t mean they can’t learn, too.
Spending time with colleagues that specialise in different areas – or work in the same area but are trained differently – can help mentors to expand their skillsets. They can then use these takeaways to become even better in their main role.
Leadership skills are imperative for employees looking to progress. However, leadership is about more than just managing a team. It’s about setting an example; about encouraging and inspiring people to be the best that they can be.
Mentorship teaches people these skills on a small-scale. Instead of setting an example or inspiring a whole team, they start with just one person. They learn what motivates that person and what prevents them from moving forward. Using this knowledge, they can help their mentee to work through their pain points and be more effective in their role.
Once the mentor has these skills, they can adapt them for other team members, and, as time goes on, for groups as well. For anyone looking to go into management they can use these leadership skills to guide their team to being the most effective they can be in their roles.
For those who don’t want to go into management but still want to progress, they can specialize in a particular product or area. Over time, they’ll become the go-to person for that product or area. Colleagues will respect their knowledge and seek out their advice. This type of leadership allows them to set an example without dealing with the day-to-day management of a team.
In large organizations it’s impossible to know everyone. Mentorship schemes are a good way for people from different departments to meet. This helps to avoid cliques forming and creates a more inclusive atmosphere.
There are often teams that don’t interact within companies. That doesn’t mean they can’t benefit from each other’s knowledge, though. A developer could learn from a designer about user experience, or a copywriter could learn from a HR person about psychology. There’s always something that people can learn from someone, so don’t assume that the best mentor/mentee relationships start in the same departments.
Encouraging employees from different departments to interact puts them outside of their comfort zones, which encourages creative thinking. Creative thinking benefits all areas of the business, and it gives employees more opportunities to show their skills.
Listening and interpersonal skills are crucial to the success of any leader. Mentoring helps mentors to improve these skills, which will benefit them in the future.
It’s important for mentors to remember that it isn’t about them. The conversation should always go back to the mentee, and what they need. However, we like talking about ourselves. That’s human nature. Mentorship is therefore an effective way for mentors to learn how to redirect the conversation back to someone else. This is a skill that will help them in all future conversations – people who talk about themselves less are perceived as more likeable. This means that, long-term, they can create more meaningful relationships that can benefit them personally and professionally.
Reinforcing their knowledge, learning new skills, and working on their leadership skills all help to build someone’s confidence. The more confident someone is, the less they second-guess their decisions and the more confident they’ll be in their role.
With all the new skills that mentors get, is it any surprise that it offers the chance of career progression?
Volunteering as a mentor shows that they’re willing to help other people. Whether they’re looking for a promotion or moving companies, having taken the time to nurture someone helps mentors’ resume to stand out. Since many companies hire as much for cultural fit as they do for skills (if not more), having mentorship on a resume shows companies they care about more than just their career progression.
Many people focus on the benefits of mentorship for mentees. And don’t get me wrong – there are loads of them. But mentors should be able to get just as much out of mentoring.
Mentorship is a relationship. And – like any relationship – it should be mutually beneficial. Mentors should be able to learn just as much from their mentees. It can also be a great opportunity to meet more people in their industry and further expand their network.
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