By Jan Murray on Tuesday 16th July 2019
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.
Mentoring ambitious young people helps the mentor to create a network of rising professionals who can help inform them and make valuable connections for them.
Mentoring helps the mentor to keep in touch with the younger generation. As a leader of any institution, knowing the next generation's perspective can greatly influence the leader's thinking. A rising professional in her 20s, for example, might have a very different perspective on achieving gender equality than their older contemporaries have. Mentoring gives the mentor access to people of different backgrounds, with different perspectives, which can help to influence the mentor's own thinking.
Mentoring younger people can also give a mentor optimism about the future. It connects the mentor to people who not only care about their careers and professions but about trying to improve the world. It gives the mentor insight into how younger generations work, talk, and communicate. And on occasion it gives the mentor access to someone who can help them work out their iPhone!
Encouragement from a mentor can be critical to success, particularly for early-career professionals. But what's in it for the mentor?
A mentoring experience can help the mentor develop their own leadership skills which the mentor can then use to advise, coach and develop their own staff.
To a mentor, their experiences may seem quite ordinary but when they participate in a mentoring program they will see how beneficial and helpful those experiences can be to those who are upcoming in their profession. It also helps to transfer knowledge within and organisation and aid succession planning.
Mentoring teaches the mentor how to accommodate others' ways of thinking and working.
Mentoring gives the mentor the chance to get out of their comfort zone and use their expertise in other areas. It also improves their listening skills and helps them to use their listening skills to improve their ability to give guidance.
The mentor will learn that they don't have to be in the exact same discipline to be helpful to a mentee. They will find that mentees have a lot to offer the mentor—they may find themselves learning from the mentee.
Mentoring isn't just about helping other people or about being altruistic, it can make better managers and better leaders. Mentoring therefore remains important throughout life.
If you think a mentoring program would be beneficial in your organisation get in touch for a no obligation demonstration of our mentoring platform.