Established in 2002 and recognized yearly by the US president and administration, National Mentoring Month is a time to celebrate the power of mentoring and encourage others to explore how mentoring programs can enable organizations to create more productive, engaged, and satisfied people.
Why is mentoring important, you ask? It provides invaluable benefits both to the mentor and mentee. Mentoring benefits our youth and internal team members within our organization. Young and seasoned professionals can benefit from mentorship.
Here are the top ten reasons why mentoring is important:
Mentors help mentees identify their strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. They assist in setting realistic and achievable goals that align with the mentee’s aspirations and career path.
Mentors support professional and personal development. A mentor can help create growth goals and be a resource to define the steps toward achieving a mentee’s objective. For effective goal setting, SMART goals are best – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. A structured path will ensure the mentee remains committed to their goals and the necessary actions to achieve them.
Accountability and Motivation
Mentors hold mentees accountable for their goals and commitments. They provide motivation and encouragement, pushing mentees to stay focused, overcome obstacles, and achieve their objectives.
Sharing Knowledge and Experience
Mentors draw upon their own experiences and expertise to provide valuable insights and knowledge to mentees. They share industry-specific information, best practices, and lessons learned, helping mentees navigate challenges and make informed decisions.
Offering Guidance and Support
Mentors act as a sounding board for mentees, providing guidance and support in various aspects of their professional and personal lives. They offer advice on career choices, work-life balance, and overcoming obstacles, helping mentees make informed decisions and navigate challenges.
Mentors often have extensive networks within their industry or profession. They can introduce mentees to valuable connections, opening doors to new opportunities, collaborations, and professional growth.
Mentors provide encouragement and support, helping mentees build confidence in their abilities. By offering reassurance and belief in their mentees’ potential, mentors empower them to take risks, embrace challenges, and strive for excellence.
Promoting Continuous Learning
Mentors inspire mentees to embrace a mindset of continuous learning and growth. They encourage mentees to seek out new knowledge, develop new skills, and stay updated with industry trends. Mentors can recommend relevant resources, suggest learning opportunities, and share their learning journeys. By promoting lifelong learning, mentors help mentees stay adaptable, innovative, and competitive in their professional endeavors, which contributes to the mentees’ success in reaching their full potential.
Being a Soundboard
When an individual has ideas, they can use a mentor as a resource to discuss or try them. The mentor can provide unbiased advice or direction using their personal experience and knowledge. With these insights, the mentee can better understand the steps to take and whether to pursue the idea or walk away. Similarly, a mentor can also listen and advise them on daily concerns, such as a workplace conflict or stumbling blocks on a project.
For individuals just starting their careers, a mentor can help set guidelines on professional expectations. They may clarify the priorities of the role, proper workplace behaviors, and best practices. These guidelines can help establish appropriate work habits to enable them to perform their job successfully. Effective work habits help with productivity and career advancement.
Likewise, the mentor receives valuable benefits such as boosting interpersonal skills, seeing new perspectives, and strengthening knowledge – as sharing knowledge reinforces it within. Mentoring can expand one’s network – through reciprocal introductions or connections from your mentee, and provide recognition – if your mentee finds significant success, it can demonstrate your value to others, and establish leadership skills. Finally, mentoring can bring positive fulfillment and confidence – when you help a mentee succeed, you can gain confidence in your skills and abilities, and lastly, help strengthen your company – which is valuable to everyone.
How do you find a reliable mentor?
There are various ways a mentee can find a mentor. One way is to research the type of individuals in their ideal position, establish a network with industry experts (LinkedIn, Professional Organizations, Chambers, and other local networking groups are great resources), and begin conversations with those who know the role and industry well. Another way of seeking a mentor is by asking a trusted former or current manager, professor, or someone in your industry with a similar role. These individuals know you well and understand the career you’re striving for, so they can provide personalized guidance.
The three Cs of mentorship are:
- Clarity: Mentors and mentees require a definitive understanding of the mentorship goals, which involves active listening and building trust or rapport with each other.
- Communication: This is how mentors can market their mentorship program and how both parties speak with each other.
- Commitment: Both parties, the mentor and mentee, require dedication for the mentorship to be effective.
Here are a few ways you can facilitate a successful mentorship:
- Communicate often
- Schedule regular meetings, such as once a month
- Prepare before meetings and reflect afterward
- Share goals
- Maintain mutual respect
- Seek feedback
The JDI Group views mentoring as a necessity and standard of development. We actively work with our community to provide mentorship to our youth through programs like JA Inspire, teaching the Community Learning Experience module through Junior Achievement, leading Engineer for a Day programs, and providing high school and college students with shadowing and co-op opportunities. Within our team, we mentor every day. It’s a part of our DNA that helps JDI continue to grow. Our experienced team members provide guidance, share company procedures and protocol, encourage involvement with industry organizations for networking and keeping current with industry standards and changes, and lead by example.
Who is your mentor?