A mentor is someone who helps another person achieve goals. A mentor is expected to have a long term relationship with the mentee and to challenge the mentee to do better and see more clearly. A person can benefit not only from being a mentee but also from being a mentor. Allen reports that people “who serve as a mentor to others report greater salary, greater promotion rates, and stronger subjective career success than do individuals without any experience as a mentor to others”.
(Allen, March 2006) Everyone should seek the opportunity to be in a mentoring relationship from both perspectives to improve personal and professional lives. The responsibility for directing the mentoring experience lies with the mentee. As a mentee, begin by defining your mentoring goals and choose a mentor with these goals in mind. Discuss goals and expectations with your mentor. Enjoy the time being mentored and make the most of it to reach your goals. Learn to accept constructive criticism from your mentor.
When giving feedback to your mentor, always be courteous. Communicate clearly when you periodically reevaluate the mentoring relationship. If you decide to end the mentoring relationship, do so on good terms. (Lakoski, 2009) Expect benefits from being mentored.
You establish networks both professionally and personally. Your mentor encourages you by offering new approaches to work on weaknesses revealed though feedback. As you create more areas of strength, you grow in your sense of competency and identity. A mentor introduces you to new ideas, habits, and people. This experience shows you the importance of having a mentor and being a mentor throughout your life. (Stone) Benefits to mentoring others are often overlooked; however, mentoring is worth the time and effort. You develop relationships with people who share young, fresh, and new ideas for you. You share your knowledge that can only be gained through experience.
Your communication, leadership, and relationship-building skills are tested and developed. Your network expands to new mentors and mentees. Most importantly, being a mentor renews and grows your professional and personal life. “Through the volunteer experience, you gain personal satisfaction by motivating a person to raise their values and dreams”. (Stone) Consider the following reflection on the success of a mentoring program: This means that because of the care, support and guidance of their online mentors, the students have a highly improved ability to cope in their very challenging worlds where poverty, violence, drugs and dropouts are the normal order of the day.
Because of our program and our volunteers, our kids have practiced and developed skills that have moved their decision-making abilities from external sources (needing to be told what to do) to internal sources (making good life decisions for themselves.) (Schrauth, 2011) To be the best mentor possible, there are a few key elements to consider. Being a good listener is important. When you listen to and understand a mentee’s perspective, you can better help him or her adjust that perception. Identify your and the mentee’s feelings so you can process the meanings behind these feelings and move forward.
Listen to what motivates the mentee, what excites him or her, what makes eyes light up and speech confident. Focus on these areas to improve these strengths. When you offer feedback, make sure you are always productive in your confrontation of a weakness. Providing this appropriate information encourages your mentee in areas of weakness and strength. (Shea, 2002) When you have the opportunity, delegate authority and give permission to your mentee to explore options to grow in his or her own experiences. While using these best practices, your experience as a mentor will positively affect the mentee and you. Experiencing the mentoring relationship as a mentee and a mentor grows you in your professional and personal lives. The relationship challenges you to grow and refreshes your perspectives. Seek out opportunities to be mentored by those above you and to mentor those below you.
Allen, L. D. (March 2006). Career Success Outcomes Assosciated With Mentoring Others . Journal of Career Development, no.3 272-285. Web. Retrieved on the web in SAGE journals online database on Feb. 23,2011 Lakoski. (2009, August). Web. Retrieved February 23, 2011, from http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org Schrauth. (2011, January 25). A thank you from Kate Schrauth to all our mentors. Web. Retrieved February 23, 2011, from icouldbe.org’s blog : http://icouldbe.wordpress.com/> Shea. (2002). Mentoring: How to Develop Successful Mentor Behaviors. Menlo Park, CA: Crisp Publications Inc. Web. Retrieved from the web in Googke Book Search Feb. 23, 2011 Stone. (n.d.). Benefits for mentors and mentees. Web. Retrieved
February 23, 2011, from http://cmcismentorprogram.wordpress.com: http://cmcismentorprogram.wordpress.com/mentoring-program-manual/benefits-for-mentors-mentees/