If you find yourself planning for the new future, plan on becoming a mentor. Not only will it help others but it will have a positive impact on your career
As we get ready for the new normal post-COVID and as we get ready for the lifting of restrictions, many people seem to be making a list of things they plan to do. It’s almost like a post-pandemic list of resolutions. If you believe in the law of life that says you reap what you sow, you’ll realize that mentoring is all about sowing seeds that will one day grow into a bountiful harvest for you. Here are just a few of the benefits you’ll realize by becoming a mentor.
Improve communication and transferrable skills
Being a mentor requires you to learn to build rapport where none existed. Inevitably, this means you’ll do a lot of listening. This is a key transferable skill to develop and it is well known that good listeners are more effective in their jobs, careers and lives. Being a mentor helps you to understand others and become more empathetic. Better listeners are better partners, and this will improve productivity and mutual understanding. Being a mentor provides a chance to practise and develop these necessary skills.
Develop a better understanding of your leadership style
Mentoring requires you to take charge of the outcome without taking charge of the relationship. In any good mentoring relationship, the mentee has to take responsibility for making the relationship work, but at the same time, as mentor, you are accountable. It takes strong leadership to be able to be accountable for an outcome while another person is in charge of making it work. Being a mentor allows you to learn how to lead and support relationships through feedback, asking questions and providing more subtle guidance.
Manage your default thinking and behavioural tendencies
Leaders know who they are, and they know their default thinking and behavioural tendencies. Often, these defaults are not best aligned with good mentoring. Being a mentor gives you the opportunity to manage your default tendencies and bring thought processes and behaviours that have been customized to suit the circumstances and support the mentee’s needs. Being able to manage your thinking and behaviours is a key leadership skill.
Gain a better understanding of good management principles
The mentor’s role requires good management. The most basic management principles are well practised in a mentoring relationship. Mentors need to be consistent in their actions and communicate clearly, accurately and thoroughly. Active listening is paramount, and mentors need to learn to ask good questions. Mentees will expect to regularly hear a lot of constructive feedback, and a mentoring relationship requires transparency and flexibility. In addition to polishing your good management principles, mentoring is a great opportunity for you to spread optimism and positivity.
Awaken your self-study and self-teaching skills
As a mentor, part of your job is to share knowledge and your own experiences. Mentees have a great tendency to ask the tough questions. Inevitably, being a mentor will help you to know your own limitations more completely, and this can be a great motivator for you to undertake your own program or self-study and self-teaching of new skills to allow you to better serve the mentee’s needs.
Build your brand and be seen as a leader and volunteer
Mentors are cheerleaders and champions of the next generation of great leaders. Teaching others allows you to be seen as someone who is knowledgeable, available and a great coach. Mentoring also creates some pressure that prevents you from procrastinating and this helps you to get to the other things you need to do. As a mentor, you are promoting the best version of yourself and others will take note. While helping others, mentoring helps you to prioritize your own professional goals.
The mentoring relationship can push your career to new heights. Mentoring is so successful for the mentor and mentee that many Fortune 500 companies have imbedded mentoring into the way these businesses are run. Being a mentor is recognized as an important component of social networking and social networking is a key component of your brand development. Taking a role as a mentor can lead to greater career success, including promotions, raises and increased opportunities. As you work to develop your post-pandemic resolutions, make sure one of them is to become a mentor.
Glyn Jones is a partner at EHS Partnerships Ltd. in Calgary. He is a consulting occupational health and safety professional with 35 years of experience. He also provides program design and instructional support to the University of New Brunswick’s OHS and Leadership Development certificate programs. He can be reached at [email protected] or you can follow him on Twitter at glynjones_ehsp.