Being a mentor can be mutually beneficial and fulfilling. There is an uplifting sense of achievement and pride as you watch your mentee bloom. It is not without its pitfalls and challenges, but it can satisfy a very natural sense of wellbeing when you help another person. What better way for you to grow and develop your own leadership style and communications skills than through becoming a mentor? You are entering into a two-way relationship so make sure your active listening skills are highly tuned when you share your knowledge and experience.
It’s important to be clear about what you want to achieve. Will it be professional development for both yourself and someone in your field? Or, will you be looking for a more altruistic and broad life-experience sharing opportunity, potentially in association with a recognised and registered charity? Once you’re clear about your direction of travel then you can clearly set out the expectations, scope of the relationship, and goals you both seek to achieve. The devil is in the detail and expectations should be transparent in order to preserve the future of your mentor/mentee relationship. Please don’t skip this part as communication is key.
The biggest pitfall for the mentor is doing it for them! It’s tempting, but please don’t seek to direct too strongly or overpower the mentee. It’s hard sometimes to stop yourself from stepping in to fix things but the real, long-term growth for both of you is in empowering your mentee to tackle their challenges successfully, both now and in the future. So what’s stopping you? This might be just the right time to start your mentoring chapter.