In the first part of this series, where I highlighted key aspects involved in the process of mentorship, (read it here- click here ); we came to understand who a mentor and mentee are, the forms of mentorship that exists, the purpose of a mentorship and types of mentors as well as the process involved in the choice of a suitable mentor.
From the above, it is clear that mentorship has many facets to it, which make it an interesting topic. Therefore, in this article; the focus will be on three other important aspects of what a mentorship entails.
The Benefits of Mentorship
For the purpose of the second part of this series, I share with you the often overlooked benefits that make mentorship invaluable both to the mentee and for the mentor.
- How a great mentorship benefits the mentee
- From a mentorship, a mentee is able to gain practical advice, encouragement and support as it relates to their career progression or other (personal) needs.
- Mentees are able to learn valuable lessons and principles for success from the experience of those they look up to as mentors.
- Mentees are able to utilize the lessons and principles learned to reduce the anxiety of taking bold steps and making big (career) decisions as it relates to their career progression and overall future life plans.
- Mentees are able to implement decision making skills to develop effective strategies for dealing with personal, professional and academic issues.
- A mentorship teaches the mentee the importance of work-life balance and the art of communicating with high level professionals in order to to build instant rapport, aka networking.
- Mentors assist a mentee to cultivate strong leadership skills one on one, in real time.
- Mentors are able to provide a different perspective and ask different set of questions that forces the mentee to analyse, focus on his/her goals and establish a clear direction.
- Mentees learn to develop greater confidence and transform their weaknesses into strengths for better productivity.
- Mentorship instills relationship management skills in a mentee and this helps them to grow networks and develop their future potential.
- A great mentorship provides a platform to communicate with resourceful mentors who are able to streamline the mentees’ progress to bigger achievements.
- Mentorships provide room for outside growth and learning in a mentee, especially in a formal or situational form of mentorship.
- Having a mentor can enhance a young persons’ learning aptitude, help build resiliency and self-control.
- How a great mentorship benefits the mentor
- A quality mentoring relationship also benefits the mentor. Due to the fact that the nature of a mentorship requires honest and consistent communication, mentors are able to gain insight into changing roles and expectations of what leadership entails and thus are challenged to maintain their expertise.
- One of the biggest benefits to a mentor from participating in a mentorship, is the opportunity to give back to the community and help new people grow, learn and advance in their respective professions.
- Another way the mentor derives benefit from a mentorship is that he/she is able to positively re-inforce their skills, knowledge and understanding of a subject as well as reflect on what they learned and gained. The lessons a mentor teaches during the mentorship serve as a reminder of how much they have achieved and to continually strive for a higher standard.
- Mentorship forces the mentor to step back, gain perspective and new understanding of a problem or a question which was answered and also helps to grow and hone leadership skills like diplomacy, co-operation, dynamism, etc., all of which are skills which are applicable in many life and professional situations.
- A mentorship increases the confidence a mentor gains is also easily transferable to leadership in the workplace and also serves as an extension of their professional development record.
Top 7 Qualities of an Effective Mentor
Seven prized qualities in a mentor include;
- Commitment: A true mentor is committed to the wellbeing of the mentee, as such they may sometimes be blunt in their approach to the mentee. You can measure the commitment of a mentor by the depth and thoroughness of the questions they ask, especially in an attempt to get the mentee to see the ‘bigger’ picture of a situation or gain clarity on pressing issues.
- Discretion: Apart from the fact that a good mentor provides an active listening ear to the mentee; to rightly gauge a situation and gain understanding of where his/her help is needed, it is important that the mentee should be able to confide in the mentor. If the mentor proves untrustworthy, the relationship will be superficial at best; damaging at worst. Therefore, it is imperative that you chose a mentor with whom you can be honest about your life and circumstances with, in order to get the right guidance.
- Accessible: A successful mentor relationship thrives on not only regular communication but on the mentors’ accessibility to the mentee to provide helpful guidance and advice. From this it is easy to decode that mentorship is rarely successful in absentia.
- Helpful and Honest: Another quality of a good mentor is that he/she should be helpful and honest enough to bring clarity to your goals and actions. Clarity is an automatic side effect of a good mentoring relationship for the mentee. Mentors are those that enjoy being of immense value to others and seeing good things happen to those they mentor. A good mentor challenges you to appreciate new perspectives.
- Confident: A good mentor is should have a confident personality, and should be a person who is certain that the knowledge, skills and advice they impart to you, the mentee; will support your self-discovery and uncover your true potential, to enable you shine with your unique skill set and in ways and areas that set you apart.
- Encouragement: The quality of (kind) encouragement is vital in a mentor. A great mentor values your success, hence he/she will actively support your success as a mentee with words and actions. Basically the mentor will encourage you in your triumphs and speak kind and understanding words to help you recover from mistakes or setbacks. Some mentors may even go an extra mile to make valuable connections on your behalf or offer resources that could be useful to you whenever he/she can.
- Knowledgeable: Whether the mentor is an expert in their field or a success in their career, the mentor is able to impart knowledge of the topic/subject at hand to the mentee. This could be done through the mentor utilizing any of the previously mentioned forms of mentoring styles, or teaching from their own personal understanding and lessons.
How to find a Mentor
- Be direct and ask: If finding a suitable mentor is your ultimate goal as a mentee, by all means adopt a proactive approach with boldness. This will enable you get the best result in case you are a shy person, or you meet a professional who you are genuinely impressed by who you would like to emulate in their carer or life achievements.
- Use the Internet: Nowadays, the Internet has the answer to so many questions, including where to find quality mentors or in a better sense, quality mentoring programs or better yet, stay tuned to this website and sign up for the Kaycee Inspires Newsletter (put Kaycee inspiresnewsletter link) for a comprehensive list of mentorship programs you can trust.
- Network at Events: Most social events, including seminars, symposiums, lectures, conferences, etc., all create an enabling environment for a young person to be exposed to thought leaders in their particular field and provide a perfect opportunity and grounds to discuss with them on different topics.
- Build meaningful relationships: When you place emphasis on building meaningful relationships with professionals, academics, and distinguished persons who are doing well in their respective professions or areas of their lives, apart from the fact that you will create the right platform to share ideas with them, it will be fairly easy to choose a mentor from amongst those you respect the most or ask them to recommend a professional for guidance in your field if that is what you need.
No matter how smart or educated you are it is important to seek mentorship. The guidance of a mentor ensures that you not only make less mistakes in life but also improves your chances of achieving your dreams.