Mentoring - what are the benefits to mentors?

Susan Buglass

Susan Buglass

Apr 14 — 2 mins read
Giving back and helping others grow<br />Photo by <a href="" target="_blank">Ravi Roshan</a> on <a href="" target="_blank">Unsplash</a>

Giving back and helping others grow
Photo by Ravi Roshan on Unsplash

Why do people become mentors in the first place?

When asked why they volunteered to join a mentoring scheme in the first place, mentors answers are often along the lines of:

  • "I didn't have a mentor and it would have been really useful, so I want to give someone else the opportunity"
  • "I had a mentor and it was really useful, so I want to give someone else the opportunity"
  • "I've had a lot of help from other people during my career and I just want to give something back"

So generally, people come into it with an altruistic frame of mind, although sometimes people do it more from a sense of duty - the feeling that being a mentor is a responsibility or moral obligation, or just an accepted informal role within their profession.

What do mentors gain from the experience?

When mentors are asked afterwards what they think they got out of the experience, surprisingly often the response is something like:

  • "This might sound strange, but I think I got more from the partnership than my mentee"

Of course this may in part, be due to the natural modesty of the mentors, but often they genuinely do consider they benefitted more from the relationship. After concluding their first mentoring partnership, they very often come back with entirely different reasons for wanting to continue participation as a mentor. And in fact, the reasons they give are very similar to the benefits which we see presented back to us by mentees, including:

  • the opportunity to learn new things
  • to reflect and gain self-understanding and awareness
  • to develop (or refresh) skills
  • the opportunity to expand networks

And of course, mentors also talk about the intrinsic satisfaction from helping someone who needs help, whether it be a more junior colleague looking to progress their career, or a peer looking to change their career direction.

mentor mentoring

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