In my career, I’ve been lucky to be on the receiving end of some phenomenal mentoring relationships. I have had mentors in my life who have helped me get jobs, get better at my job, expand my network, and even mentors who helped me to decide to become an entrepreneur. I wrote an article last year about how to appropriately structure a mentoring relationship. But it’s only recently that I’ve been on the giving side of a mentoring relationships, mentoring a young woman regularly through Step Up Women’s Network. And I quickly realized, that while I thought I was giving something back by mentoring, what I’m getting out of it is profound.
Mentoring, whether mentoring a young colleague, a friend, or a young woman, can give back in your own life leaps and bounds. You’ll learn about yourself, learn about your work, and more clearly clarify your own path in your career. So, given my tips on how to create a mentoring relationship, here are a few tips on how to maximize your mentoring relationship, as a mentor:
- Take the ride with them! As you’re mentoring, especially in a structured mentoring relationship, your mentee will likely have projects and processes to follow. In my Saturday mentoring session with my Step Up mentee, we worked on a timeline to complete a goal. Her goal was getting accepted into college, and it was so wonderful to go through that process with her. But it was also phenomenal for me to complete my own timeline toward completing a goal – my half marathon. I got just as much out of the exercise as she did.
- Get energized! Helping others can be a phenomenal mentoring experience, and it can energize you immensely. While you’re 1:1 with your mentee, let your energy build, get excited about the work you’re doing together. Take that energy into the world with you. When I leave a session with my Step Up mentee, I’m smiling for the rest of the day. You will be too.
- Create a lasting relationship. Mentoring can be structured to be contained into a specific period of time – 4-6 months, or a certain number of sessions. And this is a great way to keep your goals clear in the mentoring work you’re doing. But be certain that during that time, you’re creating a long-lasting relationship with your mentee. Mentoring creates relationships that are meaningful and mutually supportive. I’ve had a number of mentoring relationships that have lasted over the course of years, and you never know, sometimes the mentee can be just as helpful as a confidant to their mentor.
Wherever you are in your life or career, there is always someone who you can help get ahead in their life or career. Seek out that mentee and help them develop. It will develop you in ways you’ll never imagine!