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Benefits of being a mentor

by Evalyne Ndanu
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While the benefits of mentorship for a mentee seem obvious, for a mentor it may not pop up at first sight.
And as we mentioned on our previous article, mentorship is a mutually benefiting relationship.
Mentorship should be advantageous to both the mentor and mentee.

In this article, we get to delve into the benefits of being a mentor not only in the tech field but also in other fields;

1. Improved relationships , friendships and networking.
Most of the mentorship sessions begin with questions like, How are you? How has your week been? What did you learn this week? The depth of conversations that is sometimes attached to these questions is unimaginable. People love to be understood and cared for, they remember how you made them feel. In mentorship, people get to experience this level of conversations meaning cultivation of deeper connections and growing a sense of belonging and feeling wanted. Mentorship provides a safe space to be heard and guided.

It is in these same relationships that you get introduced to friends of friends and experts in certain fields of interest and before you realize it your network combined with your networking skills tremendously grows.

Some of these relationships continue even after the mentorship sessions and transition to authentic all-rounded relationships.

2. Fulfillment.
There is a sense of achievement upon seeing someone that you have been walking with climb up the ladder in their career and be able to make better and Informed decisions. It is the sort of pride parents feel when they see their kids doing exploits. There is fulfillment in giving. Fulfillment from helping another person to avoid the same mistakes you made on your journey.

3. Builds confidence.
Confidence is feeling sure of yourself and your abilities. The simple act of having someone look up to you, boosts belief in self and one’s skills. Adding this up to being able to demonstrate and pass on you skills levels up the confidence. Most of the mentees verbally appreciate their mentors. They praise and express how skilled their mentors are. This for sure creates a thrust to the confidence of the mentor.

4. Gets to be a part of sharing and passing on skills to the next generation.
What better way to be a part of the next leaders than mentoring. Being a mentor gives you the chance to contribute to the next leaders and allows you to shape their journeys as well. A mentor gets to share the skills that they possess with their mentee(s) and this forms part of their legacy.

5. Grows one’s teaching skills.
Teachers help us to learn new concepts , retain and maximize on what we already know, guide and nurture us in different aspects. This is exactly what a mentor does, while we may not necessarily call mentors teachers, they do apply teaching skills. Their teaching skills get to be revamped as they mentor. Teaching skills also grow patience and empathy especially towards other people. Sometimes a mentee needs to be taught and retaught something until they have a grip on it. This requires grit in the teaching skills from the mentor as well as grit in being teachable from the mentee.

6. Learns much more.
It is in the space of mentoring others where you will get pushed to think outside of the box. You will be asked many questions, some which may send you to do some research. Some may send you posing the same questions to other people as well. What does this do to the seeker? It allows them to stretch beyond their limitations, to learn better and new ways of getting work done. To grow their knowledge and immerse themselves deeper into the topic. This is what being a mentor calls for you to do. To reach out and thirst for more. To do the digging and find out more because no mentor wishes to be shallow. And shallow surely doesn’t cut it.

7.Reinforces your own skills and knowledge.
It is in the process of sharing and teaching when improvement is made. You gain a deeper understanding of what you are giving guidance on. It cements what you know so far and adds an icing on top, of mastery.

8. Develops leadership, communication skills and listening skills.
In mentoring, you get to hear someone else out. You get to actively listen to their questions, struggles, challenges, achievements and ideas, as well as give feedback. You get to learn how to pay attention and interpret nonverbal cues including body language.

This ultimately improves ones communication skills as you become a better listener and interpreter of other people’s situations.

A mentor is a visionary, able to see ahead and guide appropriately. Ability to mentor is considered one of the leadership skills. As you mentor, your leadership skills are improved.

9.Helps you to reflect on where you are on your own career and journey.
Mentorship involves opening up your career journey to someone else. Opening up on both the achievements and failures you have had. It helps the mentor to look back and get to question some of the decisions they made along the way.

It gives the mentor a better look at their own journey. This is a reflection that comes in handy for the mentor as it gives them a better look at their current position relative to the choices that they made. It enhances their decision making going forward because they then have a better understanding of their journey and goals.

10. Builds your CV .

I once wrote a recommendation for one of my mentor’s on LinkedIn. This went a long way in enhancing their CV. Mentorship builds the CV of the Mentor. It shows that the individual is interested in growing other people and that they are generous and willing to invest in other people.

No one is self-sufficient, we need each other. Having a quality that shows you are community centered and altruistic is definitely a plus on one’s CV. It reiterates that you are not a selfish person but one who is interested in others as well, interested in growing them and seeing them get to where you are.

Giving provides an intrinsic reward that’s far more valuable than receiving. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “To find yourself, lose yourself in the service of others.”

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