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The Benefits of Mentor/Mentee Relationships

Mentor and Mentee having a conversation

Early in my career, my manager took me out to lunch and told me:

“I’m here for you and your career. So, whether that’s supporting you as you work towards your goals and aspirations at [current company], or if (and when) you decide to leave and pursue other opportunities, I want to be a resource to you.”

She added that she didn’t want anything from me in exchange for this support but that it’s important that I pay it forward and help others navigate their careers too.

This conversation changed our relationship, from manager and managee, to mentor and mentee, because I now knew that she was invested in my career as a whole — not just my performance in my current position.

Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to mentor others, and I’ve found that being a mentor can be just as rewarding as being a mentee.

Benefits of Having a Mentor

  • Career Support: Managing your career can be confusing and complicated, but a mentor can help you figure out your long-term goals and guide you on how to reach them. Should you stay in your current role? Do you need to expand your network? Is this a position that will help you to achieve your short- or long-term goals? Mentors can help you make informed decisions.

  • Perspective: Forming a relationship with someone with more work and life experience means you have access to knowledge and ideas that you wouldn’t otherwise. Mentors may be able to shed light on a topic, provide new information, or validate your experience.   

  • Safe Space: When you’re feeling conflicted, or managing a challenging situation at work/in your career, it’s invaluable to have someone you can turn to for sound advice. They’ll be able to provide recommendations based on their own experience and knowledge that keep your best interests in mind.

  • Well-Being: Finding a good balance between your work/career aspirations and taking care of yourself can be hard. Whether you need guidance around managing/preventing burnout, creating a stronger work-life balance, or managing a health condition in the workplace, mentors can help you create a plan of action that addresses your needs.

Benefits of Being a Mentor

  • Perspective: Building a relationship with someone from a different age or background can broaden your knowledge and understanding of the diversity in the workforce. Ultimately, this understanding will enable you to successfully work with a more diverse pool of people.

  • Personal Satisfaction: Helping another person to learn and grow may be the only benefit you need from a mentorship. Knowing that your experience – including your mistakes, lessons learned, and victories – can help another person to further their career and goals is empowering and gratifying.

  • Build Your Team/Profession: If your mentee is at your organization, their growth ultimately benefits your entire team. And even if they aren’t on your team, your mentee’s improved performance is a great asset to the profession. Who knows – they may end up hiring or supporting you someday!

  • Pay-It-Forward: We all needed help, support, and guidance to get to our current positions. To express thanks to those who helped you on your career path, you can support others in the way you were or would have wanted to be helped.

Mentorship helps career trajectory, offers guidance, fresh perspectives, and a safe space for growth. Whether you’ve been a mentor, mentee, or are considering stepping into of these roles, reflect on the impacts these relationships have had or could have on your journey. How has mentorship shaped your path, and how might you pay it forward? Embrace the cycle of learning and empowering others in your professional life.

Written by Christina Burns

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