‘I’m not experienced enough’ or ‘I don’t have enough time’
These are the common rebuttals I hear when I ask someone why they don’t consider mentoring someone.
My story is the same.
I had just finished my graduate program and someone who knew me from university approached me for me to mentor her as she transitioned into work life.
I was confused.
I was quite fresh out of University and I felt like I wasn’t ready to mentor someone yet.
But she then said, “But you still went through something I haven’t yet”.
After that, I realized mentoring doesn’t mean you have to be a CEO with 20 years of experience. If you have something to offer that your mentee doesn’t have, that’s all that matters.
“I’m not experienced enough”
Many people view mentoring as a process where someone who is older and more experienced teaching someone who is a novice.
I have however seen many times where senior members are mentored by the younger generation of today or in my case, I was mentoring someone who was almost the same age as me.
These days, mentoring is about open teaching where skills exchanges are common. No longer is it based on age discrimination but rather being able to teach one another new things.
This doesn’t mean though someone who is more experienced is not as needed. This is needed as more youth join the workforce than ever before.
‘But I don’t have enough time’
There’s always time in someone’s calendar. From taking a quick coffee break at work or even breakfast in the morning, there are many ways you can find time to mentor someone.
Save the excuses. it’s not about having time. It’s about making time. If it matters, you will make time.
Time is never an excuse.
There are many reasons however that you should consider mentoring someone that goes beyond time and skill.
Here are 10 reasons why you should consider mentoring someone!
1. Develop Future or Current Leadership Skills
As a people manager or someone who wants to be one in the future, you are effectively developing your own ability to mentor others efficiently within a workplace scenario.
The ability to remain objective, plan, strategize and keep your mind open to all ideas are just some of the few qualities needed for a future leader.
This is important when coaching and finding potential growth opportunities and learning gaps your mentee might need. Coaching is a skill that must be learned and developed. It does not necessarily come naturally to everyone yet it is a critical component to managing, nurturing and leading others.
All this and learning how to move forward without jeopardizing your team’s outcomes, as well as feelings, is what makes a good leader stand out from the pack.
2. Give Back To Others
It’s always important to give back to the community. It’s not always about your own self learnings but teaching others as well especially youth at risk. This can mean a positive experience for both parties.
“At-risk young adults with a mentor are twice as likely to graduate college than those without mentors.” — Giveback
3. Achieve Personal Career Growth
A study done by Sun Microsystems studied the career progress of over 1,000 employees. People who had acted as mentors were SIX TIMES more likely to be promoted than those who didn’t, and 20% more likely to get a raise.
Although there isn’t absolute hard evidence of mentoring being correlated with quick career progression, it’s safe to assume it gives you skills such as leadership, emotional intelligence and more that are what needed in future leaders.
4. Gain New Perspectives and Ideas
Often enough, mentoring gives you an opportunity to relay your learnings to your mentee through your experiences. This means new ideas and concepts of doing things they might not know before.
But this doesn’t mean it’s a one-way street.
Likewise, your mentees can also give a fresh new perspective which could give you fresh new ideas! This could be topics that are more tailored to their generation or something completely different!
5. Learn to see things differently
Similar to Point 4, having a mentee not only allows for you to mentor someone but gives them a chance to show their perspective of a concept.
Even if they have a lack of experience doesn’t mean they can’t show you a new way of thinking on the same concept.
Having all potential viewpoints is important and what better way to get one from someone who has a fresh view.
6. Exercise emotional intelligence
Working with your mentee requires you to engage with your emotional radar. This means being able to read on the emotional state of others and respond accordingly.
Sometimes it’s better to be critical whilst other times with empathy.
This is honestly an important part that is overlooked. Having a great understanding of emotional intelligence won’t only help you within your workplace and your career progression but also your personal life as well.
7. Strengthen Your Learnings
Reinforcing your learnings is always important. Once learned, unless we do it regularly, we tend to forget over time the skills originally learned.
This is especially the case with leaders who tend to forget about those hard skills that got them to where they are in the first place. What better way to keep those skills than to train someone else up at the same time.
Talk about two birds with one stone!
8. Good for The Workplace
Being a mentor to others in your own workplace not only reflects positively around your colleagues but also potentially your wider team members and beyond.
All workplaces have some kind of politics and office chatting so wouldn’t you rather be seen in a positive light rather than a negative one?
9. Helps Build Your Tribe
When you help someone, they will be thankful for it.
Having a network that supports you what you do is not a short term thing, it’s a lifetime deal. This investment you make will not only propel you professionally but also personally as a human.
A good example of this is Gary Vaynerchuck.
Even if you find his commentary a bit over the top, you can’t deny his good intentions. His Instagram is often a way for him to help mentor others and inspire. It’s no wonder he has one of the biggest tribes in support of him!
10. It Feels Good For You
I left the most obvious one to last. Mentoring is a great experience for your mentee to learn from someone senior, experienced or just knowledgable in a certain area. But it is also great for you as a person too.
As humans, we always incline to help others in need and so why not feel good about it when you do! There’s nothing more rewarding than knowing you made a difference in someone else’s life.
Happiness is the key to success and longevity!