Mentorship can be considered a form of investing in the workplace. Much like you might invest your income to grow your wealth, you can contribute your time and energy into the growth of both people in the mentorship. If you’re taking on a mentee for the very first time, learn how to be a mentor that makes a difference with these 27 tips.
Feel free to jump down to the infographic for a visual breakdown of common mentoring styles, the benefits of mentorship, top qualities, and ways you can help influence someone’s career.
What Is a Mentor?
A mentor is an individual who provides guidance and advice over an extended period of time to someone with less experience, otherwise known as the mentee. Mentors are supposed to share their expertise and knowledge, answer questions, and help support their mentee’s personal and professional growth.
Benefits of Being a Mentor
The career advantages that mentoring brings mentees are often discussed in popular media, but it’s important to acknowledge that mentors reap many benefits as well. Career advisor Micheal Gilmore said, “Employees who serve as mentors also report greater job satisfaction and greater career success [and] more than half receive salary increases over time.”
Read more about how mentorship has the potential to influence your salary, your ability to climb the corporate ladder, and your journey to personal fulfillment.
1. Increased Salary Potential
Investing your time and effort into mentoring can literally pay off. A longitudinal study by
Sun Microsystems found that those who were mentors were 20 percent more likely to
receive a pay raise than those who weren’t. If you’re looking for ways to help boost your
salary, mentoring might just help you get there.
2. Higher Likelihood of Promotion
Mentoring also correlates with successful career movement. The same study found that the likelihood of mentors being promoted was six times higher than non-mentors. Experiences from mentoring often hone skills that are valued at leadership levels such as motivating and supervising others.
3. Enhanced Personal Fulfillment
Finally, mentorship can offer immense personal satisfaction. For many mentors, personal fulfillment came from the ability to give back and watch mentees grow. Professor of Business Law at the University of Connecticut Robert Bird said, “The greatest benefit to being a mentor is the joy of watching a mentee thrive.”
Quality Mentor Traits
When it comes to what makes a good mentor, it’s helpful to know what traits are valued by mentees. Here is a list of some of the important traits a mentor could have:
- Willingness to help
- Openness to ideas
- Expertise in their field
- Capacity for feedback
Ways To Be a Good Mentor at Work
Mentors shouldn’t just have quality characteristics; they should also be able to demonstrate them. In this section, we’ll explore the three A’s of mentorship: active listening, availability, and analysis. Additionally, learn how to lead by example by following these tips to be a career-changing mentor at work.
1. Ask About Career Goals
At its core, traditional mentorship is about an experienced professional guiding a mentee’s career and personal growth. As such, it should make the needs of the mentee a priority. The best way a mentor can prioritize their mentee’s needs is by simply asking them.
Get to know them and ask questions about their career goals, what they want to improve on, who they’d like to connect with, and how they like to receive feedback. Their answers will help guide your mentorship so you can best support them in their evolution and growth. Help them turn their career goals into specific, measurable objectives to accomplish over time.
2. Adapt Your Mentoring Style
Once you’ve learned all about their goals and preferences, it’s important to adapt your mentoring style to fit their needs. Does your mentee want to take more risks and accelerate their growth? Be the person that will challenge them to get out of their comfort zone or try new things. Or if they’re good at what they do and occasionally need advice, try a more hands-off approach to show them that you trust their direction.
3. Learn About the Types of Mentors
There are many different types of mentors that exist, and your capabilities and experience may mean you’re not the right one for a certain mentee. Check out five common types of mentors below and see which one you might be best at.