Looking back on how your career journey started, I bet you would still be able to remember one, two, or a few mentor(s) whose advice, guidance, and constructive feedback were major contributors to your professional growth and development.
Considering the above, you may, at this point, have thought of a way to give back to your industry and community. If this sounds like you, choosing to be a mentor would be the best way to give back and grow professionally.
Who is a mentor?
A mentor is an individual who leads with his time, effort, and expertise to see that a less experienced or younger person is well-nurtured and developed professionally. Mentorship is a way of paying forward to the community or industry and ensuring that others are being mentored. There are no strict guidelines on mentoring, as it could happen in different settings. It could be in a formal and structured setting or an informal, unstructured setting. Another part is that it could be over phone calls, emails, or between groups or an individual. One of the important aspects of mentorship is being committed to investing in the professional growth of another person. Being a part of a mentorship program also benefits you as a mentor as it helps improve your communication skills, develop your existing skills, and helps you gain mastery in your current career path.
Undoubtedly, the rewards of being a mentor outweigh the effort of being a mentor. But you want to be sure that you are ready to wear the gear of a mentor. To help you decide here are a couple of questions that will help you decide;
- Will I be able to commit the time and effort weekly or monthly to mentor someone?
- How will I be able to manage confidential information when mentoring my mentees?
- How much time am I able to spare for my mentees outside our regular meetings?
- What platform will be most suitable for communication during the mentorship program?
- How best will I approach topics I have little knowledge about?
Answering the above questions will enable you to decide whether or not you are ready to give back as a mentor to your community and industry, or perhaps you need some time to develop yourself a little more.
5 Steps to Becoming a Mentor
According to a survey proven by Forbes, about 20% of young professionals and even 9% of retired individuals expressed how grateful they were to be beneficiaries of varying current mentorship programs. This is to show that having a mentor increases the chances of one’s professional success. Below are the 5 steps to becoming a mentor. They include:
- Evaluate yourself
No one commences a journey without first considering the cost. Likewise, before deciding to be a mentor, you want to make sure that you have created a list of objectives you expect to achieve and that you are ready to invest your time, energy, effort, knowledge, skills, and finance in ensuring that your mentees have the best mentorship experience.
- Identify the core areas you will want to mentor
Be clear on the areas you want to mentor. A good way to discover these core areas is to take cognizance of the problems/ questions people come to you for support or guidance and identify professional areas you are currently doing great at.
- A community
One of the easiest ways to become a mentor is by joining a community or network that will give you the privilege of mentoring others.
- Start building your mentorship relationship
At this point, you must have connected with your mentees and are ready to start building your mentorship relationship. To establish an effective mentorship relationship, you must give thought to the following:
The objective of your mentorship program.
The rules guiding your mentorship.
The frequency of your meetings.
The communication style, and many more.
- Re-evaluate and make modifications
Analyze what has been working and what needs to be changed as you make progress with your mentorship program.
Benefits of Being a Mentor
There are numerous benefits of being a mentor. It includes the following:
- It exposes you to broader insights on different subjects.
- It allows you to grow your network and deepen the relationship you have with your mentees.
- It improves your present skills and allows you to give back to your community.
- It gives you a sense of personal fulfillment, i.e. the excitement and satisfaction you get from doing something beneficial.
- It adds up to building your resume.
- It enhances your communication and problem-solving skills.
In summary, giving back to your community and industry via mentorship is one of the best decisions you can make as a professional who wants to help other young champs grow professionally.