Are you rising to the top? Have you reached a level of success where you feel compelled to give back? While you cannot give “back” to the people who have helped you along the way, you can give “forward.” Being a mentor is an effective strategy in which you can contribute significantly to the career development of others and it offers a way of building skills towards future career goals for those with promise within your company.
The difference between simply training someone and mentoring is significant. Training means providing the tools and time, but it is really up to the other person to “get it.” Mentoring means taking a personal interest in another and seeing the training and knowledge transfer through to its completion and success. It is an investment that reaps mutually satisfying rewards.
Sharing your professional and personal skills and experiences with another promotes growth and development that might not otherwise be possible. It is based upon encouragement, constructive comments, openness, mutual trust, respect and a willingness to learn and share.
Some of the benefits to the less experienced employee (mentee) include:
- Increased knowledge;
- A supportive environment in which successes and failures can be explored and evaluated;
- A smooth transition to the next level, i.e. promotion; and
- Development of professional confidence and self-esteem.
Some of the benefits to the more experienced employee (mentor) include:
- Giving back what you were given earlier in your career by others;
- A renewed enthusiasm for your profession and/or talents;
- Participation in challenging discussions with someone who will have a fresh perspective on business and life that you might not otherwise be exposed to;
- Satisfaction from contributing to the success of another; and
- An opportunity to test new ideas and concepts.
The benefits to the company include:
- Improved delivery of products and/or services through more informed and skilled staff;
- Higher employee retention;
- Improved communication between separate areas of the company;
- A new support network for employees in times of organizational change; and
- Developing leaders with enhanced people skills.
To evaluate whether you would make a good mentor, consider whether you possess these qualities:
- Greater experience and knowledge than the mentee;
- Flexible and progressive style, particularly good people skills;
- Trustworthiness in order to have open and honest communication;
- Compatibility with the mentee’s personality;
- A win/win agenda; and
- The ability to give constructive advice and to act as a role model.
A successful mentoring partnership is a career development experience to be enjoyed. If your company does not currently have a mentoring program, pioneer the trail. You will find that in addition to the benefits outlined above, it will bridge the gap between departments and the various levels of authority within the organization, thus affecting morale and ultimately the bottom line!
Be a Mentor!