The benefits of being a mentor
December 10, 2018 / Networking / Greg Atkinson
Success, wealth, and fame may all be common indicators of a good life but there’s something else that’s often overlooked: impact. In other words, how you’ve actually helped others or changed the world. Or what legacy you leave behind. And while you may be tempted to point to your impressive KPI record to prove impact, there’s a much easier way to go about it: become a mentor. By helping another person, and passing on your skills and knowledge, the impact you make multiplies. Here’s why:
1) You can share and pass on your experiences
You’ve learnt a lot in your life. And when you look back, you wish you’d known some of the things you know now back then. In hindsight, you may have done things differently, and saved yourself plenty of time, money, and headaches. That’s the wisdom experience has given you. And that’s the wisdom you can share with someone else.
You could argue that a person only truly learns from trying and failing themselves, not from theoretical knowledge inherited from another. This may be true, but what you’re offering is not a safety net against all of life’s challenges. Rather, you’re providing advice that could help your mentee seek out new challenges, or pick themselves up when they fall.
2) You can keep important skills alive
Decades ago, movie poster artists were ubiquitous, with every theatre employing one, or even a team. With the introduction of digital printing, many artists found themselves out of a job, or retired. Today, only one theatre in Taiwan still employs a full-time movie poster artist – possibly the last one in the world. If this master had not chosen to pass on his skills by training a new generation, the art of movie poster painting would be lost for good.
Hopefully, you’re not in a dying industry. However, the skills you possess could die, if you don’t pass them on. Your go-to method for finding inspiration, your tricks for handling difficult negotiations, your innovative productivity hacks… all of these warrant a second life, beyond your own lifetime.
3) You can significantly impact another person’s life
Successful people can often point to one conversation, or one meeting that significantly altered the course of their life, and propelled them to success. It could have been the right advice at the right time. Or an introduction to a collaborator. Or a sincere word of encouragement in a dark hour. The ways a good mentor can guide and help their mentee are endless. And the impact of that guidance is limitless.
As a mentor, you’ll find Kalido very useful. Free chats and calls mean you can reach out to your mentee whenever you want, and vice versa. The introduction and recommendation features allow you to easily put your mentee in touch with useful contacts. You can also invite your mentee to join relevant networks, to stay in the loop about important news. And you’ll see the progress your mentee is making through their profile, which showcases their portfolio and significant projects.
4) Teaching helps you understand better
In psychology, there are 4 stages of competence, also known as the 4 stages of learning, or the 4 stages of teaching. The basic idea is to move from a state of ignorance to a state of such competence that it becomes second nature. Take the example of driving a car. Before you learnt to drive, you had no idea what you needed to know to get the car moving (stage 1: unconscious incompetence). Once you started learning, you knew what skills you needed, for example, clutch control (stage 2: conscious incompetence). Once you’d been driving for a few weeks, you had to concentrate on your clutch control, but on the whole, you were getting it (stage 3: conscious competence). Now, years later, you shift gears automatically, without even thinking about it (stage 4: unconscious competence).
By mentoring, you can test whether you’re actually at stage 4 in terms of your skills. When your mentee starts throwing questions at you, you’ll either be able to answer them without panicking, or you’ll need to go back and brush up on a few things. You might be surprised at what you don’t know, or what you do.
5) You’ll have a protégé who can help you
There are only so many hours in the day, and you only have so much time and energy. Doing everything all at once is impossible. But think how much more you can add to your To Do list if you had someone to help you. Especially if that someone is a person you’ve trained and nurtured yourself. They’ll be familiar with your work ethic and preferred way of doing things, and have a deep understanding of your overall objectives. Short of cloning yourself, your mentee could be the best assistant you can hope to have.
You’ll also be giving your mentee opportunities to try new things, while you’re on hand to supervise. There’s no better way for them to learn, and for you to get more done.
6) You could learn new things
The danger of being at the top of your game is the possibility of stagnating. When things become too easy and comfortable, it’s time to shake things up. Your mentee will have their own ideas, and might know a thing or two that you don’t. You may not have kept up with new technologies, or methods, or schools of thought. And while your way has worked so far, your mentee could bring you fresh perspectives and skills that push you to the next level. Just the experience of mentoring could teach you things about yourself, and how you react to other people. So, while you’re ostensibly the one teaching, you could learn a whole new bag of tricks yourself.
Being a mentor is admirable and fulfilling. If someone hasn’t come knocking on your door yet, there are plenty of eager potential mentees on Kalido you could offer your services to. So, to positively impact another person’s life, and perhaps your own too – become a mentor.