5 Signs You're Ready to Take On a Mentee
Career Growth

5 Signs You're Ready to Take On a Mentee

by Cathy Goddard
Photos Shannen Norman | October 08, 2015

MENTORSHIP IS ESSENTIAL TO DEVELOPMENT AND CAN HAVE AN EFFECT ON A YOUNG PERSON'S CAREER PATH. YOU NEED TO BE PREPARED FOR THE RESPONSIBILITY TO BEST EDUCATE YOUR MENTEE. 

Mentorship is a powerful tool that can make a substantial difference in a person’s career path. {Click to Tweet} And although it’s often perceived as a one-way street, it actually offers up benefits for both mentor and mentee. By definition, mentorship is “a developmental partnership through which one person shares knowledge, skills, information and perspective to foster the personal and professional growth of someone else.” It’s often a means to hone leadership skills, achieve professional goals, and reach career success.  

Despite those accolades, women claim to have a more difficult time finding mentors than men.  In fact, a 2011 LinkedIn survey of more than 1,000 professional females found that one out of five women have never had a professional mentor.

Until women collectively bolster each other’s professional success, inequalities in our work culture will continue, preventing women from rising to the top.  By sharing your hard-earned wisdom as a mentor to others, you could help close the gap.

But is the timing right? Here are 5 signs you should take on a mentee. You’re ready if:

1. YOU'RE WILLING TO DEDICATE THE TIME AND ENERGY IT TAKES TO GAIN TRACTION IN A MENTORING RELATIONSHIP.

Often, a mentee find herself in a vulnerable position, openly sharing their challenges and insecurities.  If she senses she’s a burden to your workload or that your relationship won’t last long enough to see results, she can feel discouraged or rejected.

2. YOU CAN TEACH BY ASKING EFFECTIVE QUESTIONS. 

You don’t have to have all the answers. The Socratic method is a powerful tool where a teacher guides the learner through a series of questions instead of providing answers.  Named for the process that Socrates used to teach Plato, this method encourages your mentee to think things through on her own.  Although a mentor should always share knowledge and provide advice, combining clear answers while asking effective questions delivers more benefits.

3. YOU CAN CHECK YOUR EGO AT THE DOOR. 

Mentoring is only one development tool. Encouraging your mentee to learn from other sources and perspectives provides resources so they can continue to grow. It’s never about being right or wrong but instead, openly sharing best practices and empowering the individual to make their own decisions that fit their unique circumstances.

4. YOU CAN TRULY RELEASE FEARS ABOUT GIVING AWAY YOUR SECRETS TO SUCCESS.

There’s a phenomenon in the corporate world called ‘Queen Bees’ – those career women who have little interest in fostering the careers of other women who follow in their footsteps.  A true mentor understands that to become an effective leader, you must possess a genuine interest in helping someone else succeed. {Click to Tweet}

5. YOU'VE BEEN ASKED TO BE A MENTOR!

Remember that LinkedIn survey? 67 percent of the women polled also said they never mentored another professional because, “no one had ever asked.”  If you’re asked to be a mentor, it’s undoubtedly because someone respects your success and recognizes the qualities you embody. Allow yourself to feel flattered, and don’t miss the opportunity.

Zig Ziglar once said, “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” Being a mentor is a huge commitment but for those that overcome the obstacles and invest in another’s success, the experience can reap an abundance of rewards for both sides.

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We’d love to know if you have considered taking on a mentee and what might be holding you back?  Tell us in the comments below!

Infographic courtesy LinkedIn.