Mentoring Part II: 5 Benefits to Mentoring
March 6, 2019
Last week, I looked at mentoring from the perspective of the mentee. As you may recall, I mentioned mentoring is a symbiotic relationship where there is some mutual benefit. In almost every mentor/mentee relationship I have had, I have gained something in return. From my experience, there are five specific ways you, as the mentor, can benefit:
Having an Impact on Someone Else’s Life
To know you have helped an individual realize their dream is empowering. It is not an immediate realization, which makes it all the sweeter. To watch, over time, your mentee grow and shift to gain necessary skills, move up in their career, is incredibly satisfying. That sense of empowerment is uplifting and it breeds excitement.
Passing on Your Knowledge
Sharing your knowledge is a great way to give back to your profession and help grow young professionals, thereby shaping the rising talent. You can share everything from successes to failures. Failure makes for great lessons. Describing failures and how you turned them into successes or how you made the decision to walk away, teaches younger professionals about resilience.
Learning Something New
I have found over the years, I often learn something from my mentees. It may be something simple like a new way to attack a problem or a new skill. For example, one mentee showed me how to use a social media scheduling platform. However, sometimes the learning is deeper, as in the case of my Mandela Washington Fellows. I have mentored four over the past two years, and I learned a great deal, from a cultural perspective, about their lives in their respective African countries.
Much of the mentor/mentee relationship surrounds accountability. When you hold your mentee accountable for career actions and decisions by asking them why they made certain decisions or took a specific path, you are more likely to reflect on your own actions and decisions. Thus, this process not only helps to propel their career trajectories, but yours as well.
Growing Your Network
As you mentor a young professional, you are growing your network of professionals.
I might go as far as to argue that if you are not gaining something in return, then you aren’t putting enough effort into the mentor/mentee relationship. Sure, the bulk of the benefits should be for the mentee. However, I have had those mentor/mentee relationships where I feel I have been the one gaining the most benefits. That would extend to my mentoring of the Mandela Washington Fellows. Of course, part of that results from the cultural exchange.
We don’t enter a mentor/mentee relationship expecting to gain, but there is nothing wrong with acknowledging the benefit you receive as a mentor.
Anne Converse Willkomm
Assistant Clinical Professor
Department Head of Graduate Studies