Why Mentoring is The Best Way To Develop Oneself

Asmita Karanje

When you mentor someone, you learn a lot about your own capabilities.

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Show me a successful individual and I’ll show you someone who had real positive influences in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living—if you do it well, I’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing the way. A mentor — Denzel Washington.

You learn about the kind of person you are.

  • Do you listen to their woes or are you eager to share every trick of the trade with them?
  • Do you hand-hold them every step of the way or do you ask them questions that would guide them to the right path?
  • Are you patient with them when they trip-up or do you get easily upset?

There’s no right or wrong — it’s your mentoring style. You benefit from mentoring as much as the mentee does. They feel grateful to be under your wings, but do you extend your gratitude towards them?

You should consider yourself privileged to be granted the opportunity to influence someone’s life.

And what a beautiful way to learn about one’s personality in that process.

Here are five benefits of mentoring someone

1) Build confidence

When I mentor some of the younger colleagues in my team, I see a facet of myself in them - they are hesitant to ask questions directly and they use a lot of politically correct language. I ask them to be fearless and ask with confidence. I tell them they are new to the project and it's okay to ask stupid questions. In my early days in office, I was exactly like them. In certain ways I still am. By mentoring them, I learned how to articulate my questions and project confidence in meetings.

2) Gain perspective

When you mentor someone, you try to objectively assess their problems and situation. You have a clarity of thought that they might not have at the moment. This perspective will help you to deal with similar situations in your life when you encounter them.

I had a mentee who required some relationship advice. Because I didn't have any emotional stake in that relationship, I was able to clearly understand what's happening. I could forsee what's coming and when I would tell her, at first she always denied it but when it unfolded she would be filled with a deep sense of trust. I am no relationship expert - i was just fortunate to see it from an outsider's perspective.

3) Be relevant

When you provide advice to someone, you have to be current and relevant. You need to explain them in a way that makes sense to them. To do this, you have to be clear about the path you are leading them towards. You have filter the noise and figure what's most important to them.

To do this, you need to know more than your mentee. You have to develop yourself. Invest in books, podcasts and blogs that you can refer to them.

4) Develop leadership

This is a no-brainer. When you mentor someone, you assume the role of a leader. It's a great way to understand your leadership style - do you find answers for them or do you let them discover it themselves? Do you specific advice or you prefer to keep it at a fundamental level? How do you react when they don't act on your advice?

Understanding your leadership style would give you immense advantage when you have to lead big teams or influence large audiences. You can play to your strengths.

5) Increase empathy

In mentoring you connect with people at a level where you feel you have a stake in their personal or professional lives. It helps in expanding the realm of empathy. As the old saying goes, “Walk a mile in another man’s moccasins before you criticize him,” mentoring helps in understanding another person at a deeper level. You are more open to their problems because you have an opportunity to solve them.

If you aren’t mentoring anyone in your life, maybe consider it as a short-term goal for developing yourself.

You can mentor your kids, your colleagues or subordinates, new joiners, and even those seeking help online. There is no dearth of opportunities should you decide.

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give Winston Churchill

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Thinker, self-experimenter, and a newbie writer. I write about personal growth, socio-political issues, and career advice.

Dallas, TX
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