Mentoring and the Give and Take From It
Most people agree that mentees receive enormous benefits from
mentors. In fact, in the 15 years I've been working with mentors
and mentees, I've only met a handful of individuals who didn't
see any benefits of linking up with a mentor.
Selling mentors, however, is becoming more challenging. Successful
people are getting busier, and many aren't sure they want
to make time to serve as mentors. If you're debating about
playing this role, here are some of the most important reasons
for investing at least two hours a month (24 hours a year)
to help a mentee.
1. You'll learn. By serving as a mentor, you'll learn from
your mentees. They'll have knowledge you don't have, maybe
teach you a new job-specific skill, and help you enhance your
people-development skills, which you can use with your own
employees and even your family and friends. In the process,
you'll also learn more about yourself.
2. This is a chance to pay back. In the past, you may have
received good mentoring from someone and never had a chance
to show your gratitude to him or her directly. You now have
an opportunity to reciprocate and "put something back into
3. You could receive recognition from peers and superiors.
Being an effective people developer won't go unrecognized.
In fact, if you're in management, you'll be officially or
unofficially rated on your ability to recognize and groom
talent. If you're in a formal mentoring program, it's likely
you'll be recognized for your contribution.
4. You may get some extra work done! Remember how you paid
your dues by doing routine tasks for a mentor? Within ethical
limits, your mentees can work on your research, help with
a project, or finish other work that remains undone.
5. You'll review and validate what you know and what you've
accomplished. Teaching another helps you review and reframe
all you've learned about that subject. You'll realize that
you've accomplished much more than you thought.
6. You'll be more likely to move into "Generativity" (vs.
"Stagnation"). Erik Erikson said you'll reach a critical decision
point in your mid- to late-30s. You can give up (moving into
a Stagnation phase), or you can thrive, proceeding to Generativity
and happy 40s, 50s, 60s, and beyond. You do this by realizing
you've been through and mastered much, a new generation is
coming behind you, and you have a lot to offer it. Being an
effective mentor can actually catapult you into successful
7. You'll probably feel satisfied, proud, and other energizing
emotions. When you have a positive effect on your mentees,
expect several positive feelings of pride, satisfaction, happiness,
contentment, and excitement along with the enjoyable physiological
reactions that go with them.
8. Mentoring could have future personal payoffs. When mentees
are successful, they often reward their mentors. Even if this
isn't your reason for helping, you could receive grateful
thanks, notoriety, jobs, invitations, and other future opportunities
to contribute and celebrate.
9. You'll help your organization. Mentoring employees can
help give your organization a recruitment edge, shorten learning
curves, increase your mentees' job satisfaction and loyalty,
and improve productivity and quality.
10. You'll leave the world better than you found it. It's
been said before, and it's still true. Taking the time to
reach out to others, share your life's wisdom, and convey
your respect for them is probably the least expensive and
most powerful way to change the world, one life at a time.
Jim Mack is the leading authority in teaching actual
methods - proven, practical strategies that work. In fact,
Jim truly lives the principles he teaches and is the epitome
of leading by example. See him at www.whoisjimmack.com
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