5 Reasons You Should Volunteer as a Mentor

January 04, 2017
    
      When recruiting mentor volunteers in your new mentoring program a question that comes up is: why should I volunteer? Below are 5 great reasons you should volunteer and the positive effects that deliver in the mentor-mentee relationship.

     The "Do Good" Effect 

      In a mentor-mentee relationship, the mentor whose volunteered, receives reciprocal effects on their own career by investing time in another's as well as investing in the future of their organization. 
Working together for the purpose of developing another individual can be highly motivating.[Click to Tweet] This assumption is supported by research that states that mentors often get satisfaction and confirmation through helping less experienced individuals in their development. In general, happier people often "do good for others." Applying this by helping others in your company by mentoring junior employees, many mentors have reported an increase in feelings of self-worth due to contributing to their mentee and their organization through the mentoring partnership. Opening doors and transmitting values and skills gives rise to personal satisfaction and also satisfaction by influencing the development of an another individual. When a mentor invests time in the mentee's careers, he/she obtains an added benefit to his/her own career through many advantages like improving own skills, recognition, grooming future successors (adding network), and star-maker. For example, getting a job completed through a mentee builds one's organizational reputation for task completion. Moreover, the mentor may become identified as a "star-maker" which can attract additional high quality mentees to the mentor's department. In addition there is some type of good feeling when you see someone grow and advance in their career, especially when you know that you were an influence in helping the individual move forward. 

A Fresh Perspective 

When you receive feedback from the mentee you are also gaining a fresh, "newer" perspective though the interaction and also an opportunity to reflect on your own practices. 
Many times we can become stale in the way we do things - and often newer, especially Millenials, employees bring in new, creative ways to address specific issues. Mentors frequently find that well trained mentees provide significant assistance in the implementation of new programs, provide a fresh perspective on ideas for current and future projects, and supply a source of feedback for existing programs and policies. 

Receiving Valuable Feedback 

      You are able to retrieve valuable information in your mentor-mentee relationship and also an increase of general awareness.
       Mentoring helps participants to keep "in touch" with other needs and, thus, they gain an overall wider perspective on global organizational problems.  Valued information may be gained through the association with certain mentees, which may pertain to the organization as a whole, to a specific division or department or program, or also to an individual or a group of individuals. At a minimum, the association with various mentees increase the mentor's power base and thus, may directly facilitate a mentor's upward movement. 

     Improvement in Mentor's Skills

Individuals feel challenged, stimulated, and creative when providing mentoring functions - as they become more "senior" with wisdom to share. Please note that this has nothing to do with age, but rather the subject-matter-expert level of knowledge one obtains. Working with someone else challenges teh mentor to improve his/her own skills like: interpersonal skills, problem solving, or specific expertise, and especially communication skills. 
      The mentor's confidence in his/her own abilities and the overall subject matter competence can be increased though teaching someone else. By teaching one's own practices and knowledge, personal abilities are rehearsed, practiced and improved. 

     Exposure to Diversity and to More People 

One of the best ways to get to know others throughout an organization is through mentoring partnership. Many times throughout our working careers we get to know our colleagues casually. But through a mentoring partnership you get to now someone on a deeper level - through sharing thoughts and concepts. 
Mentoring promotes the concept of a matching and pairing based upon developmental needs and not interpersonal likes and similarities. There is more of a chance of getting to know other individuals that aren't like oneself - and therefore supports diversity and inclusion.
Within most organizations there is a great storehouse of talent that may never be recognized because one only interacts with those individuals that directly affect his/her job. By having a mentoring partnership with an individual that is outside of one's own function, you are able to observe many different individuals and obtain insight into their talents. A common comment, many times repeated by a mentor, when the mentoring initiative is implemented is, "I never knew we had so much talent in this organization. We seem to be concerned about our future and I think we have great talent right here." Or by the mentee, "I had no idea that the development I needed was right here in our own organization. I assumed I had to go outside to get it."

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