Why You Should Consider Becoming a Mentor

The March Resonate R’Connect event followed the theme of mentoring, with M-YES (Multicultural Youth Empowerment Strategy) presenting at the event. Tamba Thomas, founder of M-YES, started the organisation when he noticed that mentoring was highly needed to assist disadvantaged Australian youth from diverse multicultural backgrounds to understand and embrace the opportunities that Australia has to offer. M-YES is an organisation that trains mentors in acquiring skills to motivate, empower and guide young people. The organisation matches mentees with mentor’s that can best accommodate the mentee’s life and career aspirations.

The organisational mission of M-YES is a relatable story; it reminds us that everyone needs a mentor- no matter what stage in your life or career there is always something to learn. The importance of mentoring can’t be overstated; it is a relationship that actually benefits both mentees and mentors. Here are some of the reasons why you should consider mentoring or finding a mentor:

Mentees' Gain

Mentors help mentees to gain insight into the industry, adding ‘street smarts’ to ‘book smarts’. Unwritten codes of behaviour vary from occupation to occupation and even between businesses within the same industry. Having a mentor helps you to navigate difficult challenges in the process of learning the ‘culture’ of the environment you are stepping into.

Mentors help with providing constructive feedback, provide tips for shortcuts to success, resume building and expanding your networks to include valuable contacts. Business author Pamela Ryckman explains:

"Mentors help fill your knowledge gaps and seek opportunities to help you grow and excel. A mentor is someone with whom you can let down your guard, share you insecurities, and ask the ‘stupid’ questions we all have sometimes."

Mentors' Gain

Communication coach and author David Parnell has been quoted by Forbes saying, “one should give back at least what they’ve received”. This quote works both ways in that the mentor is giving back what they have learnt while the mentee actually is giving back to the mentor. How- you ask? For one, the gratitude you receive from a mentee makes you realise you know more than you think you do. As a Forbes article puts it:

"Every day, we’re challenged with situations that threaten to prove that we don’t know what the hell we’re doing…[w]hether you’re right out of college or you’ve been on the job for decades, that feeling (unfortunately) never totally goes away."

Realising that you do have a lot to give in turn makes you more thankful for the knowledge you have gained throughout your career. Other benefits include developing greater leadership and management skills as well as having a network of talented mentees when it comes to identifying and recruiting new talent.

How to Mentor

With these benefits for both parties in mind, Business Insider has provided tips for how to make sure the mentoring relationship is as successful as it can be:

  1. Establishing boundaries at the beginning for frequency of communication, time and place that the mentoring will happen.

  2. To develop multiple skills you may wish to have several mentors.

  3. If you want to have an inside view of what types of jobs your mentor does on a daily basis and how they effectively complete those jobs, you might ask whether you can ‘shadow’ your mentor for a day to get a better understanding of the work in practice.

  4. Learn from not only what your mentor says but also their method of leading so that you can apply these people management methods in your own career.

  5. Make sure meetings are well planned to make sure your mentor’s time is spent as effectively as possible

  6. Consistently let your mentor know that you are grateful for their mentorship.

Resonate exists to connect skilled professionals to socially purposed organisations and we believe that mentoring is one of the most rewarding forms of skilled volunteering. Whether you would like to work with a student intern, a project owner, or a project beneficiary such as the disadvantaged youth of M-YES, contact us for more information.

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Cheers, The Resonate Team