At Mentorloop we define mentoring relationships as mutually-rewarding, voluntary relationships that can be entered into by almost anyone. We differentiate between mentoring and professional coaching — where the coach might be paid, and mentors give of their time.
In our experience there is no shortage of enthusiastic, qualified mentors out there, and many of the not for profits, professional associations and incubators we speak to report being over-subscribed with mentors.
But it’s easy to see what the mentee gets out of such a relationship — to them the mentor becomes a sounding board, confidant, advisor and cheer squad! What might not be as apparent is what drives busy professionals to donate their time in these relationships — and we often get asked “What’s in it for the Mentor?”
Keeping your hand in
Mentoring keeps you in touch with your industry, even if you’ve departed. As a senior professional you might be winding down your formal career, by mentoring the up-and-comers you can keep your hand in and maybe even maintain a voice in the industry.
Mentoring can also ensure that the industry is in “safe hands” for the future — selecting and mentoring future leaders leaves a strong legacy and plays an essential part in stable succession planning.
Altruism is its own reward
There’s no doubt about it — helping others makes you feel good. And what better way to help others than by giving back to the community and industry that has supported your own career?
Mentoring not only provides an opportunity to give back, but also to gain the satisfaction of sharing your experience by helping like-minded professionals with advice that you wish you’d had early on in your career.
This isn’t a one-way street — you may also have something to learn from your mentee. While you’re imparting tips on stakeholder management they may be introducing you to better online collaboration tools.
Mentoring helps you hone your social and communication skills, and while you impart your experience you may benefit from their enthusiasm.
Build a stronger, more diverse professional network
Mentoring builds stronger networks by connecting you with individuals beyond your peers, exposing you to a more diverse cross-section of your industry and beyond. This diversity brings new perspectives to the fore to enrich your personal and professional point of view.
It’s not just about the connection with the mentee — involvement in a mentoring program can also open opportunities to connect with other leaders — also mentors — to share your experience of what makes a great mentor-mentee relationship.
A great mentoring relationship rewards both the mentee and mentor, as well as providing benefit to their employers and organisations, and potentially the industry as a whole.
Recently, we asked some of Australia’s best mentors, “What’s in it for you?”. You can find their answers here.