Mentoring is a win-win relationship. While the advantages of being mentored – receiving guidance and support to achieve your career aspirations – are clear to see, the rewards for the mentor aren’t always front and centre.
Giving something back to the profession is perhaps the benefit most talked-about by mentors. But there’s so much more. Not only can a mentor improve their own leadership and communication skills, but they can also expand their network and be exposed to new ideas and ways of thinking.
Put simply, being a mentor can enhance your employability.
Here are our top 10 reasons to become a mentor
- Get the feelgood factor – what can be more satisfying than helping another person succeed? And feeling good will benefit all aspects of your own work and life.
- Discover that it’s a two-way street – you’ll benefit from reverse mentoring. Your mentee will have knowledge and skills you don’t. For example, they may be more clued-up on the latest technology. “Mentees are learning, they are curious and full of ideas, theories and concepts,” says IOSH Mentor John Cliff. “As a mentor, I also learn from them.”
- Improve your problem-solving – you’ll likely be exposed to challenges you may not otherwise experience.
- Identify gaps in your knowledge – mentoring can help to reinforce what you know as well as highlight any topics you need to brush up on, opening the door to new learning.
- Develop your management and leadership skills – from improving your listening and questioning abilities to being better able to empathise, motivate, reason and build a rapport.
- Maintain and enhance your continuing professional development – mentoring is a great way to upskill and help you become the best practitioner you can be.
- Put yourself in a better position for a promotion or a pay rise – mentoring showcases a host of qualities, such as respecting confidentiality, which are valued by employers.
- Boost your CV – volunteering shows your passion for helping others, which can give you an edge in the jobs market.
- Improve your self-belief and confidence – you may not be aware of just how much you know until you start to share your expertise and insights.
- Expand your network – mentoring can help you build stronger, more diverse connections. Each new ally adds value and widens your reach.
Feeling inspired but daunted at the prospect of nurturing a new talent? That’s understandable and perfectly natural.
Myth 1: You need to know all the answers.
You don’t! You just need to be prepared to act in the best interest of your mentee as they work towards their goal. Here are 10 ways to be a good mentor:
- be willing to share your knowledge with others
- take time to understand your mentee
- ask stimulating questions
- be an attentive listener
- be empathetic
- be objective
- be patient
- encourage your mentee to think bigger
- act as a sounding board
- help to pick them up in trying circumstances.
Myth 2: You need to be in a senior position.
If you’re early- or mid-career, you will still be able to help those at the foot of the ladder – for example, a Graduate Member of IOSH may be perfectly placed to guide a Student Member.
Myth 3. This is a partnership for life.
Most mentor–mentee pairings generally last for a short amount of time to help with a specific goal – for example, to help a fellow IOSH Member achieve Chartered status.
Feeling inspired? Sign up to IOSH Mentoring
IOSH Mentoring is a free member benefit that provides a safe and secure online platform for occupational safety and health professionals to connect.
“Give it a go. You have nothing to lose,” says IOSH Mentor Louisa Mead.
It’s easy to sign up to be an IOSH Mentor and you can join in from anywhere in the world. Find out more.