Guest post by Simon North, Founder of Position Ignition and the Career Ignition Club.
The American poet Robert Frost “I am not a teacher but an awakener”. Someone who’s being mentored expects to gain knowledge so being awakened is a good start for them, what with knowledge coming to those who are alert and aware of what’s going on around them. As a mentor, you can be someone’s awakener, in addition to awakening yourself.
1. Keeps You Updated
Being a mentor to someone trying to make their way in the 21st century keeps you on your toes. To be of any use to them, you need to be aware of what’s relevant to them and what issues they’re facing and talking to you about. This encourages you to keep updated on what’s going on the world.
2. Sense of Reward
It’s great to see a person grow and become more confident right in front of you. Seeing their capability grow and knowing that you have something to do with it can be more rewarding than taking home a wage from paid role, no matter how big that wage might be.
3. Uses Your Experience
You can use all of your experience as a mentor. The resources that are available to you is everything that you know. It’s not very often you get the opportunity to use everything you know in work. For mentoring you’re drawing on a resource pool that goes all the way back to everything you’ve ever accumulated in your brain, heart and soul.
4. Hones Communication Skills
Given all of that experience and wisdom you have, you then have to work out how best to communicate all of that to another person. You need to think about everything from your capacity for description and analysis to how you link your experience to the mentee’s world. Recognise how they think and how they learn best. From this, you can work out what is the best way to put stuff over to them. Think slightly outside of the box to give them what they need on a plate in the best way.
5. You’re Learning Too
Mentoring is a process of personal development for the mentee, but the mentor is going to be learning too. How can you not learn if somebody’s talking to you about their work, about a change of process, a piece of technology, a new product that they’re trying to get into a new market?
6. Mentees are Useful
The more that you learn, the more that you can potentially utilise this mentee. You can use them for yourself in terms of them being your subordinate, now that you know about them, their capabilities, their ambitions.
7. Your Network Expands
By mentoring an individual, what you’ve done is created a new person in your network who will have their own network. You’re opening up a new network for yourself but also opening up a new network to your mentee. Since the world takes so much more notice of who you know and who you’re connected to nowadays, this can be very powerful for you.
8. Increases Listening Ability
You can become better at listening when you’re engaging with a mentee on a regular basis. When your mentee asks you something, seek to understand what the question being asked really is so that you can drill down into what it is that this person is really, really needing from you.
9. Refines Your Questioning
How good are you at questioning? Not just seeking to interrogate, but to get to the root of the problems. As a mentor, you can use powerful questions to get your mentee to think more about what it is you’re trying to do.
10. Develops Leadership Qualities
When you’re in the position to give and to support and to encourage, you’re actually developing skills as a manger/leader and honing those skills. You can take them back to your day job with you.
Author: Simon North is the Founder of Position Ignition, one of the UK’s leading career consultancy companies which created the Career Ignition Club, a leading-edge online careers support and learning platform. Follow him @PosIgnition