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The benefits of being a mentor

Most people think that mentees are the only ones who gain value from mentorship, but you’d be surprised at how much the mentor can gain too.

Most people think that mentees are the only ones who gain value from mentorship, but you’d be surprised at how much the mentor can gain too.

Not only do mentors get the joy of seeing someone else progress as a result of their support, but mentorship is also a valuable way to develop leadership and communication skills, gain confidence while you learn and expand your networks.

Before jumping into all the benefits being a mentor can bring, let’s dispell a few reasons people think they wouldn’t make a great mentor:

YOU DON’T NEED TO BE AT THE TOP OF YOUR CAREER TO BE A MENTOR

When people think of a mentor they often assume it’s someone who is an industry veteran, but we’ve found this isn’t the case. The most effective mentors are people with the most relevant experience (applicable to their mentee), not necessarily the most experienced. Rather than bring 10+ years ahead of their mentee, they may be one or two years ahead in professional and/or personal development areas.

This form of mentoring is otherwise known as near-peer mentorship, and the reason it works so well is because a mentor can empathise directly with the position their mentee is in while still being able to recall the specific actions that helped them with their own development.

With near-peer mentoring, there is less of a learning gap which makes the exchange more beneficial for both parties. For the mentor, the information they are sharing is still fresh and exciting, and for the mentee, they can connect easily and confidently with their mentor.

YOU DON’T NEED TO KNOW ALL THE ANSWERS TO BE A MENTOR

Being a great mentor is more about the questions you ask than the answers you give. Even the best mentors can’t provide effective solutions without asking a bunch of questions first!

Part of the value near-peer mentorship offers is that the mentor has generally been through the decision-making process the mentee is currently going through, so their ability to ask insightful questions becomes much better.

Drawing on their relevant experience(s), a mentor can ask questions they have either: (a) considered themselves when making a decision, with success, or: (b) wish they’d asked themselves at the time to be able to make a better decision.

By simply asking questions a mentor can help their mentee reach a better outcome than they could have without the mentor support.

THE BENEFITS OF BEING A MENTOR

1. The satisfaction that comes from giving back

By simply sharing your own learnings you’re able to have a remarkable impact on a person’s future. Giving your time and knowledge to someone who might not have previously had access to your level of expertise can be hugely rewarding, especially when they achieve the results they hoped for.

2. A new perspective

As a mentor, you get to view and understand a problem through the lens of your mentee. It’s an opportunity to learn about yourself, the way you do the things you do and areas you may still need to develop. You might also surprise yourself and pick up a few tips and tricks from your mentee that you might not have otherwise thought about!

3. A deeper appreciation for the value you have to offer

Sometimes you don’t realise how far you’ve come or how much you’ve grown until you start sharing your experiences with someone else. Mentoring can serve an opportunity to reflect on the progress you’ve made and build confidence as you realise that you have unique knowledge which is valuable for others.

4. Improved communication skills

Mentoring gives you the opportunity to practice taking your internal knowledge and verbally communicating it with someone. Not only does it reinforce what you’ve learnt but it also strengthens your ability to communicate ideas effectively. Articulating your ideas through effective communication and storytelling is also something that many great leaders embody, which leads us to our next benefit of being a mentor…

5. Developed leadership skills

Supporting others to make effective decisions and take action are important principles in leadership. As a mentor, you have the ability to practice both. It also allows you to get comfortable with stepping into a position of responsibility for someone’s learning and push through any self-doubt that may arise in the process.

6. Authentic relationships

The longer-term result of a great short term mentor-mentee match is often a lasting friendship. OneUpOneDown matches last only 3 months, however, many of our mentors and mentees remain in contact long after. Mentorship creates deep, authentic relationships due to the fact the information shared is often very personal and can have a large influence on the way you think and make decisions.

7. A community

There are a bunch of reasons why should be a part of a community, and through joining OneUpOneDown you become a part of ours. When you’re a part of a community you open up the doors to giving and receiving support, social interaction (especially as a freelancer) and a sense of belonging. You also never know who you’ll meet – we met our new Chief Technology Officer, Dzhuliana through our community!

TO WRAP THINGS UP

As you can see, there are many compelling reasons why you should become a mentor, and you don’t need to be 20+ years into your career to be a great one.

Some of our mentors have just recently graduated from university and they are providing amazing support to women who are deciding what comes next for them. Some are 2 or 3 years into starting their own business and are providing extraordinary support to women who are just starting.

If you’ve got valuable experiences and perspectives you’d like to share and would like to be a part of a kick-ass community of entrepreneurial women, be sure to sign up to become a OneUpOneDown mentor!

Most people think that mentees are the only ones who gain value from mentorship, but you’d be surprised at how much the mentor can gain too.