Not all companies have a mentor program, but if your company does have one and you haven’t participated, you might be thinking to yourself, what is the point?
You may have achieved your professional goals or you may not think that anyone in your company could help you or you may believe that a mentor may not fully understand you or you may not know what to say or what to ask once you are in a mentor relationship.
These thoughts are normal, but you would be doing yourself a major disservice by not participating. Both being a mentor and getting mentored can do a lot for you and this article sheds light on 3 benefits of mentorship.
Mentorship gives you confidence
Regardless of your title, how much you have accomplished in your career, or your stage in life, everyone can benefit and gain confidence from having a mentor.
Mentors see something in you that you can’t see in yourself.
Vice versa, being a mentor is an empowering opportunity to see something in somebody else that they didn’t realize was possible.
When you can participate in painting a picture that is so audacious, so ambitious, so impossible sounding to yourself or the person you are mentoring, magic happens. People open their mind to what could be possible and remove the preconceived notions they had about “reality” to try something new and give themselves permission to reach higher.
Whether you are reaching higher for yourself or helping somebody else achieve this, you begin to own the success of the person you are in a mentoring relationship. By own, you are embodying the emotional highs and lows of trying, failing, learning, and retrying.
Having somebody there to share these experiences with is extremely gratifying.
You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.
Spending time with a mentor who encourages your success and where you can encourage somebody else’s success increases confidence immensely.
Why do this at work?
You might think that your significant other or a close friend is doing this for you. And if so, that is amazing. But you shouldn’t just have one mentor and if your only mentor is too close to you, they may not feel comfortable challenging you in new ways because they have known you for so long.
A work mentor is close enough to you that they can understand and relate to you but removed enough that they aren’t conditioned by your past and the “reality” of what you think is possible. Essentially, it is easier for somebody slightly more removed from you to help you paint a picture of reality that you currently don’t realize is possible.
Mentorship makes you happier at work
People who participate in mentor relationships build deep bonds with their mentor. There is a chemical in the human brain called oxytocin. This chemical fires and makes us happier when we are around those that we feel connected to.
We spend the majority of our waking hours at work. Yet, only a small percentage of employees have this type of bond with a colleague.
By not participating in a mentor program at work, we are depriving ourselves of potentially enriching relationships that can make us excited to go to work and happier when we come home from work.
You might think “I like having separation of work and personal life.” Participating in a mentor program and having separation between work and life are NOT mutually exclusive. You aren’t sharing your whole life with the entire office and what you share in your mentor relationship is typically confined to topics that are work-relevant while a safe space to convey your personal feelings.
Mentor relationships help build your levels of oxytocin, making you happier at work.
Mentorship makes you more productive
Having a mentor and being a mentor helps you connect with another person at work that you may not have had as much of a deep relationship with before mentorship. This mentor relationship naturally breeds collaboration and innovation.
By learning what another person is doing on a deeper level, their feelings about this work, and where they view their path going in the future, you are able to build a stronger perspective about how your work can collaborate with their work and others in the company.
Another outcome of mentorship is increased engagement. By understanding the company and the work on a higher level and how another person operates, you are able to expand your mind of what can be accomplished and what you are working towards outside of your personal silo. This increased understanding of your company and opportunities to collaborate from your role increases work engagement and productivity.
In essence, workplace mentorship can have a huge impact on your level of satisfaction with your work. Really good workplace mentor programs will match you with a mentor whose personality and Work Orientation align with yours and provide you with agendas and structure on what to ask and how to grow the relationship in a positive way.
The best way to reap these benefits is to start. Take the leap and participate and you will begin to see some of these outcomes.