The thought of becoming a mentor could be a challenging prospect, as the idea of guiding someone else in their career can feel like a significant responsibility.
Rest assured, these feelings are normal. No one can know the answer to everything. In fact, that's one of the key benefits of becoming a mentor. It'll give you exposure to new challenges that you might otherwise not have experienced. Your role will be to work with the mentee to look at options, evaluate and come up with a solution.
The role of a mentor isn't to have all the answers. It's to share your insights, perspective and expertise, and to act as a sounding board for a mentee's ideas and proposed solutions. Your role is to ensure that they look at as many different options and scenarios as possible. Even if you don't have the answers, you're likely to have a very good idea of how they can go about finding them.
Why would you want to give up your time to be a mentor?
- Widen your perspective
By working with a mentee, you'll not only be able to provide your own perspective; you'll also gain an insight into how others approach challenges and in turn may learn new things in the process. Your mentee will possess knowledge and skills that you don't, so you'll have the opportunity to develop your own learning.
- Improve your self-belief and confidence
Once you start working with a mentee, you'll soon realise just how much valuable expertise you have, and how even things that you think are obvious may prove very valuable to a mentee.
- Enhance your leadership and management skills
By becoming a mentor, you'll naturally learn how to improve your active listening and questioning skills. You'll develop your ability to empathise, motivate, reason and build rapport. You'll then be able to use this emotional intelligence in managing your own teams.
- Improved problem solving skills
Working with a mentee will expose you to problems and challenges you may not otherwise experience. By helping guide a mentee towards a solution, you'll further develop your own problem solving skills and gain knowledge in new areas.
- Feel good factor
Being a mentor feels rewarding. Knowing that your skills and experience have helped someone else to succeed is a great feeling.
ICE Mentoring is a free online service which matches members seeking support with IPD and/or their general development with members interested in sharing their professional knowledge, experience and skills. To find out more and to register visit ice.org.uk/mentoring.