This year marked an essential step in my career; I formally became a mentor; something I’ve wanted to do for several years. Mentoring has always been important to me, and I promised myself when I was given a chance early in my HR career that one day, I would support others to not only get into the function (we all know how difficult it can be) but also climb the ladder.
Over the years, I have informally, and sporadically mentored people in organisations, so mentoring wasn’t entirely new to me. What made this year different? I was approached by a HR Professional who had viewed my LinkedIn profile and thought I could support her to achieve her goals.
After the euphoria of being asked to mentor had subsided, I became a little apprehensive of the sense of responsibility and commitment. Could I support? What if I couldn’t answer questions? What if we didn’t have a connection? I am pleased to say; all these concerns were completely unnecessary.
While my mentee tells me all the time how I have helped her and frequently thanks me, the benefits for me as the mentor have been ten-fold. I’ve had to think back across my career to remember situations that have taken place, then proficiently articulate them and dig deep into my knowledge base to give advice, but the best benefit is the sense of fulfilment after each of our mentoring sessions. The learning opportunity between a mentee and their mentor is not a one-way affair; my mentee has such confidence and a great outlook on life that challenges my thinking. The greatest “wow” moment for me so far was when my mentee quite casually said about a situation she was facing “comparison is the thief of joy” – such a wise and calm reaction to something that would challenge the best of us!
Being a mentor is so incredibly rewarding for me, and I love being part of a HR professional’s growth and career journey. What a privilege it is for me to see her achieve her goals, navigating obstacles and networking with key movers in the industry, hoping that in some small way it is partly because of my help.
So, for all those out there who have been contemplating being a mentor, if the opportunity presents itself take the plunge. The benefits are amazing!