“When one teaches, two learn.” Robert Heinlein
The same can be said about the relationship between a mentor and a mentee. It is a partnership, where like any other partnership, the relationship can be quite rewarding for both people involved. It presents an opportunity for both partners to experience different viewpoints, develop communication skills, and evaluate new ways of addressing situations.
Traditional mentoring involves a mentee who is usually new or less experienced than the mentor, who is usually a highly experienced professional. The mentor has the knowledge and the ability to impart his knowledge and skills to the mentee. He is an expert active listener adept at giving constructive feedback good for the mentee’s career development. While this may seem like a one-way exchange of knowledge, it usually isn’t. The mentees, often young professionals, generally have a far better knowledge of technology, and can thus share that with their mentors. Not only that, mentors also get first-hand experience in enhancing their own communication skills while explaining concepts and theories that the mentee will use through the course of his or her career. This exchange of ideas and knowledge, thus, becomes fruitful for both.
Many professionals agree to this theory and are actively pursuing mentoring programs to advance their careers. Here are a few benefits of mentoring programs for both mentors and mentees that help put careers on fast track.
Being part of a mentoring program can provide a big boost to your personal and professional interpersonal skills.
- Building leadership skills: The ability to motivate and encourage others to perform better is an art that you acquire as you move through the steps of your career. It also showcases you as a leader who is capable of helping others to grow. Mentorship program can help you get there quicker by helping you practice your influencing and motivational skills on your mentors in a safer environment.
- Building communication skills: Sharing of ideas and knowledge requires a certain amount of communication to happen between the mentor and the mentee. This regular exchange will help you practice and enhance your communication skills much faster.
- Experience a new perspective: Working with someone who has lesser experience, and therefore, by default does not possess the same perspective on things as you will help you learn to see things with a different perspective. This may further help develop your innovative problem solving capabilities over time.
- Enhanced personal satisfaction: Witnessing your mentee’s success as a direct result of your guidance can be a fulfilling reward in itself. It will add to your overall job and personal satisfaction as well.
A trusted mentor can give your career the jump-start that it needs and catapult your career on the path to success.
- Obtain valuable advice: Mentors have been there and done that. They possess valuable pieces of advice that can put your career on the fast track. They can be your ‘sounding board’ for new ideas, and help you improve your decision making skills. They can also help you with learning more efficient ways of putting your innate skills and teach you the ones you need to work within your organization, so that you can let go of the training wheels quickly and grow your career.
- Build your communication skills: As your mentor may learn a few things about communicating to you, you may learn a few things too and build your future-ready communication skills.
- Experience a new perspective: Again, you may learn a few things just like your mentor to add a new perspective to your thinking process.
- Building your network: Your mentor can help you to build your professional network, something that always comes in handy in the business world and is often overlooked by many budding professionals.
When this kind of a relationship works, it can boost motivation and engagement of both the mentor and the mentee. If you already have a mentoring program in your organization or informal mentoring relationships between employees and managers, then that’s good news for the future leadership pipeline of your organization. However, if you still haven’t given it a shot, you might want to try that out. But, do keep in mind that both employees and managers are willing to enter into this relationship with the added responsibilities of communications while maintaining the existing reporting relationships intact.