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The Importance of Mentorship in Boosting Your Career

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You’ve probably heard the old adage: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” And, whether that has proven true for you yet or not, you will fully understand the meaning of the phrase when you take part in a mentorship relationship. The importance of mentorship runs deeper than extending one’s network– it can be life-changing.

In this article, we will cover the benefits of mentoring for both the mentor and the mentee. We’ll look at what a mentor is, what qualities make for a good mentor, and how both sides of the relationship can benefit.

What is a Mentor?

Merriam-Webster defines a mentor as “a trusted counselor or guide.” In both workplace settings and academic settings, mentors connect with their mentees to provide support, guidance, advice, and help in whatever capacity that they can.

The mentorship relationship quickly becomes personal and can last for a short time or a lifetime. The relationship is aimed at helping another person achieve a goal or many goals. Even if the goal is not concrete, it could be to develop one’s confidence or self-awareness more, and a mentor can play a role in helping to do so.

The Benefits of Being a Mentor

When people think of the mentor-mentee relationship, it’s often the mentee who is thought to reap all the benefits. The fact of the matter is that it’s a symbiotic relationship, which means both sides benefit.

When you become a mentor, you get to experience an array of upsides, including:

Feeling satisfied

Mentors get to feel a sense of satisfaction for the aid they provide to their mentees. They offer encouragement, and at the end of the day, they get to witness the success of another that they were a part of creating.

Gaining new perspectives

Since mentors, by definition, have more experience than their mentees, they look at the world from a different perspective. They also see situations differently than someone who is just getting started in that same space. As a result, mentors get a chance to have a refreshed and different point of view by working alongside a mentee that they may have otherwise never felt before.

Developing leadership skills

As a mentor, you get to work on your own leadership skills with every interaction. Mentors should serve as a role models for their mentees. Since they give advice and suggestions, mentors must remain unbiased and objective, which is a key leadership quality.

Enhancing communication skills

Through verbal and written communication, mentors speak and listen to their mentees. In turn, they get to strengthen their own communication skills with every interaction. This can benefit a mentor in their own personal and professional lives.

Learning more

In any type of setting, things change. This means that what a mentor once dealt with in their own experience may be totally new to them when they see it through their mentee’s current view. So, the mentor always gets to learn about new ways of doing things and changes that have taken shape since the last time they were in the same situation. This can be an eye-opening experience for the mentor, just like it is for the mentee.

Mentor helping a mentee at their computerSource: Unsplash

The Benefits of Having a Mentor

The benefits of having a mentor are also far-reaching, which is why it’s something that so many people will seek in their academic and professional endeavors.

With a mentor, a mentee gets to:

Access advice

When you have a mentor, you gain immediate access to someone you can trust who has experience in the same realm you are trying to navigate. This can be priceless. Even when you can access information online or from friends going through a similar experience, nothing comes close to the advice that a mentor (someone with experience who has learned from their own mistakes) can share with you.

Build a network

One of the most valuable advantages that come along with having a mentor is the network that they can help you build. For example, if you are a student in college who wants to get an internship to gain work experience, a mentor may be able to connect you to his or her network to be placed in a fitting position.

Become a leader

With the advice and guidance of a mentor, mentees can avoid making mistakes that would otherwise occur. As they gain traction on the route to achieving their goals, they will develop leadership skills and opportunities to work in leadership positions.

Receive feedback

With a mentor, mentees benefit from feedback. Mentors can provide feedback for anything a mentee does, from drafting a cover letter for a job or asking a mentor about how they reacted in a trying situation. All of this feedback combines to make the mentee a better and more confident person who is capable of overcoming challenges alone.

Career rejuvenation

It could be the case that a mentorship relationship develops just when a mentee feels they are losing steam in their career. This type of intimate and trusting relationship can make all the difference and provide a new sense of excitement for both the mentee and the mentor. As a result, a mentee may feel rejuvenated in their career and more motivated to continue to power through and grow.

Gain new perspectives

Naturally, mentors provide mentees with fresh perspectives on whatever they are dealing with. These new perspectives come with more personal experience so they are of high value.

What Qualities Make a Good Mentor?

Whether you are wanting to become a mentor or find a mentor, the best mentors possess certain people skills that make them fit to be a mentor. Here are a few of the best qualities that a good mentor will display:

Closing Thoughts

The importance of mentorship is like the importance of friendship– it’s better understood in the actual relationship than explained. Whether you have a mentor, want to become a mentor, or want to find a mentor, everyone involved in the experience will benefit from personal (and oftentimes, professional) growth!