The origins of mentoring can be traced back to ancient Greek mythology. When Odysseus went to fight in the Trojan War, he put his trusted friend, Mentor, in charge of his son, Telemachus. Ever since, the term ‘mentor’ has generally come to define someone with more experience, imparting their wisdom and values on someone with less experience. This relationship can be personal, spiritual, and educational.
Perhaps you’re a baby boomer who has considered taking on a mentee, but can’t decide if it’s worth your time and energy. Look no further! Here are 8 (great) Reasons to Become a Mentor.
1. Being a mentor bridges the generation gap.
Generally speaking, most mentor/mentoree relationships happen between someone in an older generation, coaching someone in a younger generation. If you’re mentoring someone younger than you, realize that it can be a productive experience for both sides, as each generation can come to understand the other’s motivations, career goals, and attitudes. Soon, it won’t feel like there’s any gap at all.
2. Being a mentor can help you redefine your own career path and goals.
By looking at your job through a mentee’s eyes, you gain outside perspective that could help you answer some tough questions about your career.
3. It's a wise business strategy to mentor others.
By becoming a mentor, you can keep on top of new trends, issues, and emerging technologies through your mentee. The partnership can also keep your mind sharp, since a good mentee will challenge you with great questions and creativity.
4. You build long lasting relationships in your industry.
If you and your mentee continue working in the same industry, you gain a valuable ally and sounding board for years to come. Eventually you may even find yourself at different companies, but your professional relationship can last to benefit you both.
5. By acting as a mentor, you set the tone of your industry to those just entering it.
What better way is there to ensure continued success or instigate change in the workforce? Help others grow into the types of employees you would like to see.
6. Pay it forward.
Remember how confused and stressed out YOU were when you started working? By acting as a mentor, you can help make the transition easier on someone else. Having a mentor is also associated with improved job satisfaction, positive career plans, quicker promotions, and a greater probability that the mentee will eventually become a mentor themselves. Don’t be afraid to share your failures as well as your success; some of the best lessons come from the worst mistakes.
7. Think about the impact you can make on someone else’s life!
Chances are, as their first point of contact within an industry, your mentee will look up to you and your experience. Whether you realize it or not, mentors have a huge influence on a mentee’s career (and life) outlook. Mentors have the opportunity to build up someone’s skill set and confidence – and that’s a relationship not easily forgotten. Not to mention, the idea of enlightening another person's life will always add additional happiness to yours.
8. You have the chance to share your passion with others.
By coaching someone just entering the work force, you’re in the position to get them just as excited about the job as you are! Share your tips for making entertaining power point presentations, effective web sites, or even the best spot for lunchtime appetizers. You love your job – why not encourage someone else to feel the same?
Ultimately, the success of your mentee is up to them; as a mentor you can only provide so much guidance, but the effect you can have on that person’s life is priceless. We have something to learn from everyone, and we also have something to teach everyone.
Treat your position with respect, and there’s no doubting that both the mentor and the mentee will benefit from the relationship for years to come.
Share your stories of being a mentor in the comments!