Most people agree that mentees
receive enormous benefits from mentors. In fact, in the 23 years
I've been working with mentors and mentees, I've only met a handful
of individuals who didn't see any benefits of linking up with
Selling mentors, however, is becoming more challenging. Successful
people are getting busier, and many aren't sure they want to make
time to serve as mentors. If you're debating about playing this
role, here are some of the most important reasons for investing
at least two hours a month (24 hours a year) to help a mentee.
- You'll learn. By serving as a mentor, you'll learn
from your mentees. They'll have knowledge you don't have, maybe
teach you a new job-specific skill, and help you enhance your
people-development skills, which you can use with your own employees
and even your family and friends. In the process, you'll also
learn more about yourself.
- This is a chance to pay back. In the past, you may
have received good mentoring from someone and never had a chance
to show your gratitude to him or her directly. You now have
an opportunity to reciprocate and "put something back into
- You could receive recognition from peers and superiors.
Being an effective people developer won't go unrecognized. In
fact, if you're in management, you'll be officially or unofficially
rated on your ability to recognize and groom talent. If you're
in a formal mentoring program, it's likely you'll be recognized
for your contribution.
- You may get some extra work done! Remember how you
paid your dues by doing routine tasks for a mentor? Within ethical
limits, your mentees can work on your research, help with a
project, or finish other work that remains undone.
- You'll review and validate what you know and what
you've accomplished. Teaching another helps you review and reframe
all you've learned about that subject. You'll realize that you've
accomplished much more than you thought.
- You'll be more likely to move into "Generativity"
(vs "Stagnation"). Erik Erikson said you'll reach
a critical decision point in your mid- to late-30s. You can
give up (moving into a Stagnation phase), or you can thrive,
proceeding to Generativity and happy 40s, 50s, 60s, and beyond.
You do this by realizing you've been through and mastered much,
a new generation is coming behind you, and you have a lot to
offer it. Being an effective mentor can actually catapult you
into successful Regenerativity.
- You'll probably feel satisfied, proud, and other energizing
emotions. When you have a positive effect on your mentees,
expect several positive feelings of pride, satisfaction, happiness,
contentment, and excitement along with the enjoyable physiological
reactions that go with them.
- Mentoring could have future personal payoffs. When
mentees are successful, they often reward their mentors. Even
if this isn't your reason for helping, you could receive grateful
thanks, notoriety, jobs, invitations, and other future opportunities
to contribute and celebrate.
- You'll help your organization. Mentoring employees
can help give your organization a recruitment edge, shorten
learning curves, increase your mentees' job satisfaction and
loyalty, and improve productivity and quality.
- You'll leave the world better than you found it. It's
been said before, and it's still true. Taking the time to reach
out to others, share your life's wisdom, and convey your respect
for them is probably the least expensive and most powerful way
to change the world, one life at a time.
For more ideas on being an effective mentor, check our Product