29 Oct The Reciprocal Benefit of Mentoring
What’s in it for me?
When people think of mentoring, traditionally, they think of a wise, experienced person passing along sage advice to someone more junior learning the ropes. While that might be true, there is an inherited reciprocal benefit of being a mentor that is little discussed but equally impactful, for the mentor!
When you say yes to mentoring, you teach others, share your experience and help others navigate and learn from your successes and failures. As the mentor/mentee relationship evolves, mentors learn and grow too in a few specific ways:
- Viewing the world through another’s eyes helps change perspectives
- Accountability – I should do it myself
- Many roads can lead to the same destination
Let’s unpack each of these opportunities for mentors.
Viewing the world through the eyes of another. As the relationship between mentor/mentee evolves, so does understanding. Stories are shared and trust forms. As these things happen, the mentor has the opportunity to learn from the mentee’s experience and potentially see things in a different way. This can build a broader perspective, alter opinions and build empathy. If you are open to learning from someone more junior, the gifts can be very gratifying.
Accountability. When a mentor is sharing wisdom and advice there is usually a moment when they realize they are not acting on their own advice. That awareness can elevate one’s ability to self-govern and help the mentor make better decisions more aligned to the guidance they are providing their mentee. As you mentor others, you are mentoring yourself too and bringing things to light within your own self-awareness.
Many roads, same destination. When a mentor is sharing guidance and advice, the presumption can be that the mentee will follow it exactly. That is not always true. However, the guidance that a mentor provides certainly helps inform the journey and arrive at the desired destination. The mentee’s actions can also highlight alternative roads or build on and learn from the guidance to find a better way to travel. When that is shared, everyone gains new insight and their ‘map’ gets bigger with that shared experience.
Mentoring can offer the mentor and the mentee so much when both are open learn, grow and expand through the relationship.