The Importance Of Mentorship
If having a mentor helps in achieving success in one’s professional career, being a mentor is equally important for passing on knowledge and skills to the next generation
A trusted mentor is the bridge between a mentee’s mediocrity and excellence. A mentor who is personally invested in your success and whose journey is complementary to yours is absolutely invaluable. A true mentor reveals themselves to the mentee and is honest about their experiences so that the mentee can gain real insight and learn.
Regardless of one’s position on life’s timeline, a mentor can breathe life into a mentee. This is why conferring with a mentor has proved essential to even the most seasoned professionals over the years because it helps further their careers with ease. Although age does not always equate experience, someone with years of insights and expertise in their field is always apt to bring a paradigm shift not only to their career but also to their life.
As a fresher, it’s common knowledge that the opportunities to rack up experience are valuable in order to get one’s feet wet in an industry. As important as a strong work ethic, certifications, skillset, and degrees are for advancing your career, nothing beats the advice and insight of someone who has been where you want to go. The vitality of mentorship is perpetual because of the opportunities that it brings. This includes every period of acute decision making in life.
A mentor-mentee relationship is a symbiotic relationship in which both parties benefit. Contrary to the common belief that the mentee reaps all the benefits, a mentor also gets to experience an array of upsides.
Through time immemorial, important personalities have been guided by equally important or influential individuals; for example, Gandhiji was a mentee of Gopala Krishna Gokhale, Gandhiji was a mentor to Mandela and Martin Luther King Junior.
Indeed, the fundamental goal of mentorship is to assist the mentee in identifying and consolidating their strengths while also empowering them to overcome their weaknesses and self-doubt.
Through mentorship, the focus is personalised and customized, and a mentee receives an efficient solution with respect to its strengths and weaknesses. A remarkable 75 per cent of executives say mentoring has been critical to their career development, according to a survey by the American Society for Training and Development.
The following list demonstrates the importance of having a mentor:
A mentor helps you expand your network.
A mentor’s contacts can help a mentee build their network. Networking, in turn, can aid one’s career, as these connections can lead to professional and advancement opportunities. Mentors are willing to share what and who they know, bringing their mentees ahead of their past selves and other highly competitive professionals in that industry. Mentors, with their network of business professionals, provide openings to further one’s career!
For instance, a college student opting for an internship to gain work experience will be better connected through a mentor’s network in a fitting position.
Mentors serve as trusted allies.
A trustworthy person with experience in the same realm a mentee is trying to navigate is priceless. Furthermore, trust is at the core of mentoring relationships, as the mentor has the mentee’s best interests at heart. In a competitive world, relying on one another with confidential information is a prerequisite to working as a team. Regular communication and keeping promises demonstrate both parties’ trust.
Mentors can offer constructive feedback.
A trusting mentorship relationship enables honest feedback. The mentee comprehends that the constructive criticism is intended for his professional growth rather than insulting him. Being a professional relationship, the mentor here plays an objective role. Weaknesses pointed out by mentors also come with advice on how to amend them. A mentee benefits from a mentor’s feedback in this way. The feedback can range from drafting a cover letter for a job to seeking the mentor’s response to a specific situation. This in turn increases the mentee’s confidence and makes him capable of overcoming challenges alone.
Mentors maintain accountability.
The mentor helps the mentee stay on track by holding them accountable for their goals. In this way, it continuously reminds the mentee of the goals they have set. The mentor’s supervision provides a sense that someone else is watching, which further serves as motivation because even the mentee does not want to let the mentor down by not meeting the goals.
Mentors are willing to listen.
When an individual has ideas, the mentor is the first person to go to in order to discuss or try the ideas. With the relevant knowledge and experience, the mentor provides unbiased advice or opinions. These inputs enable the mentee to understand the requisite steps to take things forward. Because a mentor listens, the mentee never succumbs to a give-up approach in the workplace.
The following demonstrate the reasons to become a mentor:
Being a mentor boosts interpersonal skills.
Mentors have numerous opportunities to communicate verbally and in writing through their interactions with mentees. This enhances the mentor’s interpersonal skills like active listening, communication, empathy and patience.
The exchange of ideas is at the core of this relationship, as it enables the mentor to not only frame personalised goals for the mentee but also convey ideas or concerns, instructions, or advice. Beyond mentorship, having strong interpersonal skills can help a mentor develop relationships and collaborate more effectively in their own personal and professional lives.
Being a mentor strengthens your knowledge.
Change is the only constant. Hence, a mentee’s challenges at present can have stark differences from the challenges that the mentor faced in the past. They can expose mentors to unprecedented challenges. Moreover, these challenges, when seen through the mentee’s prism, can provide a different perspective for the mentor. A mentor’s relevant knowledge gained through its career experiences, when shared with a mentee, also reinforces the mentor’s knowledge base. Just like for the mentee, this can be an eye-opening experience for the mentor too. The mentee may have knowledge regarding in-vogue practises and new software. A tech-savvy mentee can help the mentor utilise the latest technological advancements that can cut down on the turnaround time on a project.
Being a mentor establishes leadership skills.
As a mentor, you get to work on your own leadership skills with every interaction. Mentors serve as role models for their mentees. A mentor is mandated to give advice and suggestions that are unbiased and objective. This, in turn, is a key leadership quality. As a mentor, you lead someone’s professional development. This experience establishes that one can manage others effectively toward achieving specific goals.
Being a mentor can help you receive recognition.
A mentee’s achievement also reflects the mentor’s value to others. Because the mentor plays a critical role in the mentee’s success through guidance, colleagues and peers recognise the mentor’s skills and knowledge. This enables opportunities for mentor to showcase his talent. People start taking an interest in collaborating with mentors or seeking their mentorship. It not only makes you feel accomplished, but also bestows a positive reputation useful for further career opportunities.
Being a mentor provides a sense of fulfillment.
Witnessing the successes of others that you helped create is extremely rewarding. Moreover, realising that your contributions to someone’s life or career have contributed to their uplift also gives you a sense of satisfaction. Receiving mentorship at the onset of your career also inspires you to pay it forward by inspiring someone else in a similar way.
Being a mentor offers self-reflection opportunities.
As a mentor conveys his opinion or experiences regarding the mentee, an assessment of oneself also follows in conjunction. It also acts as an enabler to introspect and retrospect regarding a mentor’s life. A mentor’s conspicuous mind delivers positive business results and can even help develop a positive, creative, and collaborative vision.
Mentoring programmes have proven to be the most efficient way to pass on knowledge and skills to the next generation among the various tools that you can use to best excel in your field and grow as a professional. But a mentor-mentee relationship requires commitment from both parties to be respectful and responsible regarding their assigned roles. If this concept of synergy works, it has the ability to leverage both mentor and mentee in their professional and personal lives. Finally, the vitality of this concept resembles the importance of friendship, which is best understood through actual experience rather than explanation. The ecosystem is formulated in such a way that, whether you have a mentor or want to become one, every participant in the experience will benefit from personal and, oftentimes, professional growth.
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