Having mentors throughout my career has been an enlightening experience for me. Mentoring others has been equally rewarding. Mentoring can be within a formal program or occur informally. A mentor – mentee relationship is a commitment between two people.
The role of a mentor is to encourage the personal and professional development of a mentee through the sharing of expertise and knowledge. The mentoring relationship is developed through mutual trust, respect and communication. Both parties agree to meet regularly to exchange ideas, discuss progress and set goals for further development. Mentoring is a process.
Guidance from a mentor can offer a mentee the opportunity for personal and professional growth. Mentors can offer advice on how to develop ones strengths, develop new skills, or expose them to new ideas and ways of thinking.
Benefits for Mentees
- Increased self-confidence
- Exposure to new and different perspectives
- Increased self-awareness
- Developing their communication skills
- Increasing their personal and professional networks
Confidence and Self Awareness
My first manager after college graduation was my first mentor I realized years later. He taught me to be selective of the battles I fought and told me to take my seat at the table, I earned it. Those words of wisdom have guided me throughout my life and career, especially with the “imposter syndrome”. Another mentor guided me through the maze of office politics in the federal government. I learned through her how political alliances materialize in the workplace. You can be an outstanding employee, but if others do not see your brilliance, your career will stall.
I have observed people that I have mentored develop to become outstanding speakers or improve their technical skills. Watching a mentee give her “Ice Breaker” speech in Toastmasters, thrilled me to the core. Watching another mentee learn cyber skills was rewarding. Through mentees, I have gained technical expertise and honed my leadership skills. Mentoring is more than the transfer of advice, knowledge and insights. It is relationship building.