Become a mentor and fast-track your career
Becoming a mentor can boost your career and offer greater fulfillment. While it carries risks, they are mitigated by choosing a reliable, high-performing mentee different from you.
As a rising or established business leader, it is reasonable to feel like you have hit your ceiling. You may lack a fresh perspective to suit the current market zeitgeist. You may be unable to take on more responsibility. And you may just feel uninspired. This blog explores the tangible benefits of becoming a mentor. By continuing to read, you will discover how to improve your work performance with the help of a loyal and trustworthy protégé.
Why become a mentor?
Mentoring encompasses a relationship in which an established or rising leader picks an outstanding junior talent and develops that person’s career. While this is a boost for the mentee, mentors also gain enormous value. Data shows that senior-level managers who have a mentee are 53% more likely to report having received a promotion in the previous two years. Whilst entry-level managers are 60% more likely to be given stretch assignments that push them closer to the senior level.
Mentees have the potential to work effectively and loyally for you and expand your worldview or skill set. And when managed correctly, the tangible benefits of mentoring a more junior talent are simply too great to ignore. Mentoring makes you a better leader.
By becoming a mentor you stand to have a more fulfilling career. Data enforces this fact. Within leaders ranging from entry-level managers to CEOs, 39% of those with a mentee deemed themselves “satisfied with their professional legacies”. While only 25% who weren’t mentors said the same.
Of course, mentoring does involve risk. It can be tricky not to let the relationship take up too much time, and there’s the risk of a mentee who is tied to your reputation, in whom you’ve publicly invested time and responsibilities, letting you down. However, this risk can be managed by looking for the right person to invest in and investing in them correctly.
What to look for in a mentee
When cultivating a suitable type of sponsoring relationship, it is vital to seek out a mentee who is a high performer and trustworthy. This person’s reputation will become intertwined with your own, so consider how their actions at work may reflect on you.
And while mentees don’t have to be young, they should be different from you, perhaps in gender, ethnicity, professional background, or life experience. Think about where your blind spots are, or what areas you wish you knew more about, and use those insights to inform your decision.
In selecting a mentee, savvy mentors act to mitigate the risks, maximising the benefits of their significant investment of time and reputation - by following seven steps:
- Identify talent - find a mentee with a track record of high performance and trustworthiness.
- Be inclusive - be open to accepting mentees with different perspectives and insights to you.
- Be inspiring - make sure your values align and use your mentee's ambitions to motivate them.
- Give helpful instruction - give your mentees tools and resources to improve their skillset and effectiveness.
- Keep track - make sure that your mentee consistently delivers in both performance and trustworthiness.
- Keep the relationship reciprocal - reward your mentee for consistent and excellent performance to reinforce the standard.
- Invest generously - have your mentees back, and support them with capital, clout, or cover.
Despite not being without risks, becoming a mentor may be one of the most fulfilling decisions you make in your career. With so much to gain, why not take a chance?