January is National Mentoring Month and it’s only fitting that a woman that I have mentored for a number of years called me last week to help her prepare for a high-level interview. She is being considered for a vice president position at another company. She said that a woman she had mentored recommended her for the open position.
It made my day! What goes around, comes around.
Mentoring is a two-way street. The mentee gains from interacting with an experienced person, yet the mentor also benefits from the relationship. Mentors gain by:
1. Helping others develop in their careers. This is the primary role of mentoring. Many people really enjoy helping others, just for the satisfaction of doing so.
2. Expanding their professional network. As the woman I just mentioned experienced, having people in your network can be very helpful for your own career advancement.
3. Learning from the person. You can obtain new perspectives on current issues. Our college interns were invaluable in helping us learn social media.
4. Strengthening their role as an expert in their field. You will be sharing your expertise with others and enhancing your own reputation.
5. Expanding their own skills. When you interact with a mentee, you will often need to coach and provide feedback to that person. These are good leadership skills for you to have, regardless of your profession.
6. Becoming people that others want to work for. A corporate attorney for a large company had a reputation for developing the people that worked for him. As a result, he always had a large pool of potential hires when he had an open position.
There are many ways to become a mentor. Your organization or professional associations may have formal mentoring programs that you can join. Community organizations also may have programs.
There is also an informal method. In this option you develop a mentoring relationship with someone by offering to help them, answering their questions and inviting them to interact with you. Over time a mentoring relationship can develop.
Isn’t it time for you to start mentoring others?