The benefits of being a mentor

Posted on Wednesday, November 14, 2018 by Rebecca Kerr

By: Rebecca Kerr, OSCPA communications intern

Navigating career transitions is always scary. Whether it’s graduating from college and entering the work force or moving from one job to another, having a strong professional support system is pivotal to success.

It’s easy to see the mentee as the “receiver” of the perks and the mentor as the sole “giver”, but, if done right, mentor and mentee relationships are mutually beneficial to both parties involved. Besides the cliché “it’s the right thing to do” reasoning behind mentoring, Louise Howard of Educause says there are many other benefits of choosing to mentor a more inexperienced professional in your field.

In “The Importance of Being a Mentor and a Mentee,” Howard outlines three main benefits for a mentor. The first she mentions is improving communication and supervisory skills. Specifically highlighting the practice and advancement of empathy and active listening skills, Howard points out taking a young professional under your wing can help you in expanding your leadership skills in guiding someone else to success.

The second benefit Howard mentions is expanding your connections and networks. With the rise of LinkedIn and the “it’s all about who you know” culture, fostering positive relationships with other professionals through networking in your area of study is something that will continue to be instrumental in personal career progression.

The journey of self-reflection that being a mentor creates is the final benefit. Looking back on how you got to where you are in your career encourages you to ask yourself questions.  Some of these might include, ‘what did I do to get myself here?’, ‘what do I wish I would have known when I was starting out?’ or ‘what did I learn from that difficult work situation?’ The answers to these questions will translate into valuable advice for your mentee while causing you to acknowledge your own professional highs and lows. You can feel pride in all you have accomplished and thoughtfully consider what you have yet to learn.

Did you have a mentor that was pivotal in paving your career path? Are you currently a mentor for someone? What are some best practices you have learned in getting the most out of mentor and mentee relationships? Tell us in the comments!

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