10 Aug 22 What Makes A Mentor, Important?
We know that mentorship can provide significant benefits to both mentors and mentees, but what exactly makes a mentor such an important element of the relationship?
The mentoring relationship allows both parties to learn new skills, expand their knowledge, and grow as individuals. Knowing and appreciating the benefits of a mentor will assist you in deciding whether you want to become one or find one for your own personal development.
A mentor may be a friend, a work colleague, or someone you are matched with through an official mentoring programme. Mentors have many qualities, but ideally, a mentor should be:
- An excellent listener
- A guide
Below, we take a look at just some of the things that a mentor brings to the learning and development ‘table’, that makes them so important to the success of a mentoring relationship.
Mentors Support Growth
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
The ability to encourage and enable another person’s professional or personal development is an important aspect of being a mentor.
Mentors ask the questions that allow a mentee to clarify goals, and once these goals are established, a mentor can accompany the mentee on their learning and development journey while providing critical, honest feedback.
Mentors Provide Confidence
Knowing you have a credible mentor to help you make decisions and weigh up options when you are in a difficult situation can help ease your mind. Not only this but receiving positive feedback upon making decisions can help boost your confidence.
As a result, a mentee who is provided support with decisions early on in their career or during progression will be more likely to have the ability to make firm, confident decisions in future due to improved self-belief.
Mentors Ensure Accountability
Making goals is one thing, but how does one maintain motivation and stay on track to achieve them?
This is where a mentor can help! Mentors play an important part in helping a mentee track progress and with planning the necessary next steps, to achieving a particular goal. Sometimes all we need is someone else to keep an eye on us, or to check in with us from time to time – to make us more likely to complete specific tasks.
Mentors can hold mentees accountable for their own growth while providing that much-needed and appreciated support.
Mentors Provide Important Connections
Networking is essential because it allows you to develop your skill set, stay current on industry and market trends, and even meet potential employers or clients.
If you’re just starting out and don’t have much of a network, a mentor can be a huge benefit. Mentors are likely to know people you do not and can make warm introductions to those who may be beneficial to you both personally and professionally.
You are less likely to miss out on new opportunities if you build, and utilise, a social and business-based network.
Mentors Provide Perspective
Mentees and mentors come from all walks of life, which can make for some very interesting mentoring relationships.
Mentors can provide an individual with a fresh new perspective on the challenges they are facing or on the decisions they are looking to make.
A mentor is a real powerhouse for insight because they have the ability and desire to provide insight based on personal experience and industry-based knowledge.
Mentors Provide Career Motivation
When it comes to mentoring in the workplace, mentors can provide much-needed enthusiasm. In fact, 9 in 10 workers who have a career mentor say they are happy in their jobs.
It is safe to say that a lot of people may find themselves feeling a little ‘bored’ or unmotivated in their work at some point – don’t worry, we won’t tell if you don’t!
Mentoring can provide the support, validation, and new experiences needed to rekindle career interest. A mentee can be made to feel appreciated, and valued when offered mentorship – all of this leads to a more motivated employee or workforce.
Mentors Offer Valuable Resources
Hopefully, a Mentor is in that position because they want to help others and share their knowledge and experience with that other person (the mentee).
Mentors will most likely have a treasure trove of mentoring resources to share with you, ranging from books, websites, podcasts and everything in between.
A mentor is also a resource in their own right, remember – they are the ones with experience and skills that a mentee is looking to improve on. A mentee should be encouraged to ask questions and make the most of the mentors advice and teachings.
Mentors Are Excellent Listeners
A good mentor has exceptional listening skills, making them ideal sounding boards.
Active listening is a technique in which the listener must fully concentrate in order to understand, respond and remember what is being said. A mentor who has developed this skill can listen to ideas tentatively and provide opinions and feedback that others may not be able to provide.
It’s suffice to say that we could talk for a long time on all the reasons that make a mentor so important.
Mentors provide stability, advice, structure and support to the mentee, as well as the willingness to share knowledge in order to help the mentee grow, develop and learn. They bring a range of skills and qualities that allow for them to be matched with mentees, mixed with an enthusiasm for teaching and developing others. We for one, certainly think that that makes mentors pretty incredible individuals!
If you have a mentoring programme within your business, educational or third sector organisation and would like to see a free demonstration of our sfG MentorNet platform, please reach out to the team – we would be delighted to hear from you!