So many of us have heard of mentorship programs, yet we often don’t utilize them – or even understand them. Let’s break it down for a second: a mentorship program is a social or professional program run by an organization that links volunteers (mentors) with participants (mentees) in order to teach or guide regarding a specific subject or skill. Several nonprofits have mentorship programs, such as the Boys and Girls Clubs of America where mentors “guide, coach, and motivate kids to be successful.” There are also organizations, such as PromoKitchen, whose sole purpose is to provide mentors to people in specific industries. Even companies may choose to start their own program where mentees can be assigned to someone who has been in the business for several years.
A main reason that many people turn away from mentorships is because they don’t think it will be beneficial. But these programs can be just as helpful for the mentor as it is for the mentee.
When I was working with a mentor – we’ll call him Tim – through PromoKitchen, I learned a lot. Tim and I would have phone calls once a week. During our first call, we discussed what my goals were and when I wanted to reach them. Then, each week, we would go over new steps to meet my goals and talk about what I had been doing since our last chat. At times, he would guide me down a path of research to learn more about an interest of mine. He also recommended several books for me to check out and connected me with other people who could help. Probably the most beneficial thing he did, though, was help boost my confidence and spirits when I was struggling to see how I could continue to pursue such “unattainable” goals, or so it felt. We surprisingly got into some very personal stuff and we learned a lot about each other.
During our last session together, Tim told me something that I never imagined. He told me about how much I had helped him. My kind demeanor and candid honesty helped him see how he could be a better professional himself. Working with me had been a mutually beneficial experience of which I will forever be grateful.
Consider becoming involved in – or starting – a mentorship program. The satisfaction that comes from it can change the way you do business, as well as how you perceive the world around you.