Mentoring is a highly beneficial partnership between two parties, often with one more experienced or knowledgeable than the other with the intent of passing on the knowledge and skills that their time has afforded them. This relationship, while highly beneficial for the party receiving the advice (mentee) is also important for the mentor.
Many networking or similar business professional groups are beginning to recognize the benefits of such a relationship and have begun to advertise mentorship opportunities to their members. This is because of the proven benefits, personally and professionally, each party can receive—like developing skills further, expanding viewpoints, getting another perspective, etc.
How Mentorship Works
Mentorship is the relationship between two people (the mentor and mentee as explained above) with the purpose of personal and professional development. These two people are not required to work together—in fact, they don’t even need to be within the same industry in order to reap the benefits of mentorship.
Mentorships work because the mentor takes on a role model or advisor position, enabling them to provide insight and encouragement based off of their experience to someone actively looking for it, so the advice is well-received.
Benefits to the Mentor
While this relationship seems most beneficial for the mentee, the relationship still helps to develop the personal qualities and professional abilities of the mentor. Some of the benefits a mentor experiences with this type of relationship can include:
- Increase leadership skills. Helping another to build their confidence, motivate them to reach goals, and encourage them to take action reflects in how you act in your role as a business owner, manager, or member of your team.
- Improved communication skills. Forming a relationship with someone—even just a professional mentorship—requires you to connect with the other individual and communicate your advice in a manner that would be effective for them.
- Get a new perspective. While you may be the more “experienced”, your mentee may provide you with valuable insight by looking at an issue you are having in a new way.
- Personal satisfaction. Helping someone else become a strong leader and/or business professional and being a part of the process, can be very personally satisfying.
Benefits to the Mentee
Mentorship provides unique benefits for a mentee, such as:
- Access to invaluable advice. Pairing up with someone who has “been there and done that”, even if its not directly in your industry, can provide you with insight in how to run, manage, grow, and sustain your business.
- Build your expertise. Partnering with a mentor can help you gain valuable skills and lessons sooner and easier than if you were on your own.
- Receive professional feedback. With a mentor, you have a professional sounding board, giving feedback based on experience and knowledge—plus an alternative viewpoint to any issues you may be having.
- Improved communication skills. Anytime you work with someone and build a relationship of any sort, a form of communication is established. Finding new ways to communicate your needs, points, and information will help your to improve upon your current communication skills.
- Expand your network. Working with a professional mentor will help you to expand your network and professional contacts.
- Advance your career. With numerous business skills improved through mentorship, how can your career not be advanced?