Pay it Forward by Being a Great Mentor

If you have enjoyed success at the hands of another, or find sharing your knowledge to the benefit of helping someone advance in their professional field highly rewarding, paying it forward by being a great mentor may be the perfect opportunity for you.

A mentorship is gratifying and beneficial for both parties. Mentoring is a two-forked path. The mentee receives guidance and encouragement to aim higher while navigating the chartered and unchartered waters of his or her professional world. A mentor receives great personal satisfaction from their part in the success of the mentee. But more than that are the opportunities for learning and personal as well as professional growth.

Why you should consider being a mentor

By being a mentor, you invest in yourself too and not just in your mentee.

You keep up-to-date with trends in your particular field as well as those in your mentee’s if the industry he/she is in is different to yours.

Many mentors find a mentorship initiative re-energizing both professionally and personally.

Another benefit mentorships offer mentors are the opportunities to grow professional networks in a variety of fields.

Some of the common duties of a mentor are:

  • to motivate the mentee in career growth and overall development
  • to use own use experience and knowledge to provide wisdom, constructive criticism, and resources to mentee
  • to be an example for the mentee to follow 

What you need to do to be a great mentor

Having certain qualities can power up your experience of being a mentor. It is a richly rewarding experience.

Be committed. Your commitment should not be taken lightly as your mentee depends on your support and encouragement. You are your mentor’s support network.

Be positive. A positive frame of mind can be infectious and uplifting. It is also a critical factor that determines success.

Be willing to share your experience and expertise. The purpose of a mentoring initiative is to facilitate a mentee’s professional growth using the expertise and experience of a mentor.

Be a good listener. Your listening skills are important in order to understand who your mentee is and what their needs are. Valuable guidance can only be offered once you know the wants and feelings of your mentor.

Be empathetic and compassionate. Having empathy and compassion makes for a great teacher. Often your personal genuine interest in your mentee can be a powerful motivator.

Be patient. You need to be in it for the long haul. Mentoring does not happen overnight.

Be an effective communicator. Sometimes, as a mentor, you will have to impart constructive criticism. Know how to provide guidance in a non-threatening manner. Provide challenges that promote skills building.

Be a role-model. You need to be aware that your mentee will be observing you as much as you will be observing him or her. It is important to display the actions and words you will be encouraging your mentee to emulate. Confidence in your guidance and advice will grow if you echo what you do in your own professional and personal life.

A mentoring programme is a gift that keeps on giving. A mentee may be inspired to become a mentor in turn thanks to the confidence and support granted by their own mentors. The value of the personal involvement in the growth and success of a mentor’s personal and professional life is priceless. This is without taking into account the benefits a mentorship brings to a mentor.



Photo credit: Henrik Mundal