We’ve seen the countless laundry lists of reasons to have a professional mentor. So it’s not surprising that we don’t have to twist anyone’s arm here at BCBSNC to be a mentee in Blue Xchange, our formal employee mentoring program. After all, there are some pretty cool experiences mentees get through our program, like face time with senior leaders, networking opportunities, and practice with career development activities (things like mastering the “art of the ask,” nailing your elevator speech, and how to handle informational interviews).
But there are rewards on both sides — in fact, there are many ways mentorship benefits the mentor. Just take it from our own Jasmine Smith, who’s a manager in Diversity Marketing and a mentor on the Blue Xchange program. She says, “Having the chance to hear someone else’s hopes and dreams and having a small hand in helping them achieve those goals is incredibly rewarding.”
And that’s just the beginning. If you’re on the fence about becoming a mentor at work, consider these ways that mentorship benefits the mentor from Jasmine:
Four Ways Mentorship Benefits the Mentor
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Ghandhi
You’ll learn something new and solve problems. I learned that I don’t know it all, which really is a valuable lesson. My mentee was going through an experience that I had never encountered before. I didn’t have “the answer.” Working with my mentee to brainstorm potential solutions was very empowering for her and a learning experience for me. Although I wasn’t in a formal leadership position at the time, I honed my coaching skills – an important asset for any aspiring leader.
You’ll expand your network, building a relationship you never would have otherwise. Over the years, I’ve seen one of my mentors get promoted twice, get married and embrace motherhood. She’s not someone I would have met in my normal day-to-day work life, and I’m grateful to have gotten to know her. Now, I consider her consider her a friend and trusted colleague I can turn to for advice.
You’ll gain trust and share unique experiences. Flipping roles here. I was once a mentee and had a mentor who I trusted a lot. Because we had built a solid mentoring relationship, I knew I could turn to her when I was going through a personally devastating time in my career. When I shared my situation with her, she revealed that she had endured something very similar. The fact that she got through it and was stronger for it, helped me embrace the situation and move forward.
The amazing feeling you get seeing your mentee soar. There are so many people who have given me advice, listened to questions or concerns, told me the truth, or gave me a chance – especially throughout my career at BCBSNC. Mentoring is my way of paying it forward, and helping others through difficult times or supporting them when they aren’t sure where to turn. That’s extremely rewarding.
Taking the Next Step
Becoming a mentor is a big decision. Like any relationship, fostering an effective mentee/mentor bond takes time and energy – on top of your ever-growing list of project priorities and deadlines. But as you grow in your own career, it’s important to consider giving back. Mentoring a protégé is a gratifying experience, and you’ll actually learn a thing or two along the way.
[Top image: Shutterstock]