On the surface, a mentoring relationship would seem to benefit the person being mentored, the party doing the learning. But the experience can provide significant professional value to both parties: mentee and mentor. “Conventional wisdom holds that just mentees benefit — and they do — but mentors gain a lot from the relationship as well,” says Tremain Ravenell, assistant director of alumni careers and professional development at the UA Alumni Association.
A mentorship can manifest in many ways, such as job shadowing, coaching, advice-giving and professional guidance. No matter the shape it takes, a mentorship will offer benefits in many directions.
Benefits for the Mentor
Find new professional fulfillment. Mentoring a young person, or a professional more junior than you, has the potential to offer the altruistic, feel-good satisfaction that you may expect. You will be making somebody’s life better. “You’re giving them hard skills that you know are going to help them win — on job interviews, on negotiations,” Ravenell says.
Develop a new pipeline for employees. When you form a relationship with a mentee, you gain a degree of access to his or her networks. That could mean a trove of potential high-quality employees over a long period: your mentee being one.
Learn about a new generation. A hidden benefit of mentorship is the window it provides into a younger generation, one more digitally inclined or culturally attuned. Though you may have family or friends in the millennial and Generation Z groups, developing a more professional relationship with a current student or young professional has the potential to offer fresh insights.
Hone your leadership skills. For less-tenured professionals who are interested in moving into management, mentoring a student or recent graduate can help build the skills required to lead a team.
Benefits for the Mentee
Receive personal guidance. When recent graduates are new to the workforce, the learning curve is steep. All kinds of questions await, some on small matters about which a young professional may be embarrassed to ask. Further, new questions await employees around every career corner. A mentor can help you answer them.
Get real-world experience. School teaches many things, but not everything about the workplace and the world that awaits following graduation. Mentorship can provide this education. For one, you may want to shadow your mentor, building your mentor-mentee relationship and your workplace intelligence. Through UA’s popular Job Shadow Program, current students can shadow a mentor for as short as one day.
Find support. There’s nothing like knowing that someone is in your corner, sharing in your accolades and supporting you in your missteps. Having the resources a mentor provides supplies you with a boost of security and information. Ravenell says, “A mentor can jump in and fill voids — instantly.”
Build credibility. Employers look for employees who display a commitment to the profession that goes above and beyond the norm. A young person who has actively pursued a mentorship will showcase a commitment to pursuing every avenue and learning everything he or she could. It shows teamwork, ambition, dedication and a knack for self-growth. In short: that you are a company’s dream employee.