We’re often asked why people–especially busy executives–choose to volunteer their time to mentor others. (If you are an executive with leadership experience, you can apply here) We make it a point of asking our prospective mentors during the on-boarding process what they expect to get out of their involvement. We routinely hear four things:
1. Paying it forward
Almost every mentor wants to do for others what’s been done for them. As Richard Branson mentioned in a blog post: “If you ask any successful businessperson, they will always have had a great mentor at some point along the road.”
Mentoring others is a great way to give back and help the next generations achieve their full potential.
Everwise helps match mentors with the types of protégé they want to work with. The protégés in our program are vetted to ensure that they are genuinely interested in learning vs. just looking for a contact to help them find a job or, even worse, looking to network as a business development tool.
“My Everwise experience gave rewards I never expected. As a mentor, I was prepared to listen, share personal experience and simply do my best to help a protégé work through professional development needs. For me, the opportunity to participate in that process was sufficient reward.
“However, I gained much more. In watching the protégé develop, I learned several things to help my own personal and leadership development, like: How to better handle similar situations, how to be a better listener, when to offer advice, and when to stand back and simply offer support as a protégé discovers the answers. Along the way, I also gained a new friend and valued business colleague.” – Marshal Ponzi, Everwise Mentor
2. Personal development
We learn a great deal from the process of mentoring, e.g., we develop key coaching skills: listening, asking questions, and how to guide people to form their own conclusions. We also take a fresh look at the way we approach complex business problems.
In fact many of our mentors state they they get at least as much out of the process as their protégés do.
3. Exposure to new people and ideas
Executives often point out that they become more and more isolated as they move up the corporate ranks. They may not have as much opportunity to work with junior team members and the ideas to which they’re exposed are increasingly filtered by staff members.
Because we match executives with emerging talent from other organizations and, often, entirely different industries, our mentors gain exposure to new people, ideas and the tools and techniques that might be leveraged in other organizations.
“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve as a mentor for your organization. It was a great opportunity to help an up-and-coming leader with some of his specific goals. I hope our discussions were helpful to my protege.
“I learned through the process as well, which was an added benefit to me. Thanks again for the opportunity – programs like this can be an invaluable development tool for proteges and mentors alike.” – Judy Braun, Everwise Mentor
4. Reputation and recognition
Coaching and mentoring are skills that are valued by almost all employers and team members. The feedback derived from the Everwise program is a great way for our mentors to demonstrate their facility with specific skills (the ability to teach someone else is the best indicator of mastery of any skill) and their effectiveness as a coach and mentor.
We’re finding that many of our mentors choose to list their experience mentoring for us as one of their achievements, e.g., on LinkedIn. We’re working on a way for our mentors to officially surface their mentoring experience as part of our new online community features (currently in testing).
At the end of the day, mentoring isn’t for everyone. For those inclined to do this, though, we’re finding that our program offers a great way for our mentors to maximize their impact. In fact, 95% of our mentors want to immediately be paired with a new Everwise protégé when they are finished with their initial partnership!