By David McQueen, Leadership speaker and Connect Mentor
As a mentor of some twenty odd years I am passionate about the importance of its role in the personal and professional development of those I have worked with. As both a mentor and a mentee there a few things for me that make mentoring an important part of a personal growth and development plan.
Mentoring broadens your thinking
Whether it is a wiser older mentor or a peer mentor, having a sounding board of someone who has more experience in an area than you is great for your thinking. There are many times when surrounded by just your people who think the same as you or defer to you because they think you have all the answers can frustrate you.
A mentor can usually ask those questions, rather than just providing you with answers, which can stretch your thinking about how you see the world. This kind of stretched thinking comes in very useful when making decisions, solving problems or managing conflict.
Mentoring encourages ambition
A few years back I had the pleasure of working with a mentee. With a few personal knock backs she constantly held back on what she could offer the world. We went through an exercise where we carefully explored all the things she had achieved so far in her life that she had not probably given consideration to. From that we built a roadmap of where she could take her career to the next level.
This roadmap was not just about professional direction but where she could build her personal, emotional and financial wellbeing as well. Seeing the penny drop in our sessions was priceless.
Mentoring fosters good listening and honesty
The third benefit of mentoring is the ability to be be able to really listen well.
Very often people think that mentoring is about a dispensary of information from a more learned head into the mind of the mentee. In fact very often as mentors we spend a lot of time just listening to what our mentees are saying, and when I say listening I mean active listening.
This can be from repeating back points so as not to make assumptions. As well as asking questions to clarify on some of the things NOT being said. This listening also creates a great sense of trust and honesty over time between mentor and mentee.
I will be writing more on this subject but for now these are key components that make mentoring such a big deal for me and why I encourage organisations to promote or adopt mentoring wherever possible. For more information on Connect Mentors go to www.ConnectMentors.com