One of the more rewarding experiences you can have as a leader is to be a mentor. Mentoring is a way to create a new leader and extend the legacy of your leadership. The benefits of mentoring are well known. As a mentor, you serve a trusted confidante over an extended person of time. And mentoring is not just about the mentor. A Mentoring relationship works in both directions—both individuals learn together. There is a mutual sharing of knowledge, real world experience and timeless wisdom.
Everyone Needs A Sounding Board
Whether you are working within an organization or an entrepreneur, you can always benefit from having someone to turn to for advice. Mentors give us the ability to have someone to learn from who has that “been there, done that” experience that allow us to tap into their opinion when we need it most. Taking advantage of their lessons of mistakes and successes can bring you better perspective on your own journey. Sometimes you just need someone to back up your hunch or be there as an emotional support when you need it as well.
No Strings Attached
One of the best advantages of mentors is that they have no ulterior motive. A mentor is there for you. Typically most mentors do not charge for their time. Typically, mentors will donate their services for those on a tight budget and there are many organizations that offer volunteers of executives who are looking to mentor young leaders and business professionals as well. You can also network with organizations who will recommend individuals who will offer their time to mentor.
Trust Is Key
For any relationship to be worthwhile, trust must be the foundation. A mentoring relationship has to have trust. Trust doesn’t come over night. Trust has to be developed over time. The more time you spend, the stronger the bond become and more efficient will the flow back and forth of sharing, the familiarity of you and your business.
Always remember that mentoring is a shared job. You aren’t solely responsible for creating a successful mentoring relationship. The person being mentored needs to be flexible, honest, open and receptive to feedback and insight. They need to be willing and able to take action in pursuit of goals, to invest in learning and to take steps toward needed change. The mentee also needs to be willing to give you feedback and talk about what is or isn’t working well in the relationship.
As you can see, the rewards are many. Developing a relationship with a mentor can be the best investment you make in your career and as a mentor the best way for you to improve your leadership skills. Many mentors have found a personal satisfaction and fulfillment from their mentoring relationships. If you’re feeling burned out or cynical, mentoring can be the boost you need to change your game and make a difference.