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Mentoring to Thrive

I was struck the other day, in reading an op-ed piece by Thomas Friedman, about both the value of having mentors for college students but also about the benefits of mentoring for the mentor (It Takes A Mentor, New York Times, Sept. 9, 2014). Mr. Friedman cited a recent survey by Gallup and spoke to their director of the education division, Brandon Busteed. Here’s one of the quotes that stood out to me from Mr. Busteed, “Successful students had one or more teachers who were mentors and took a real interest in their aspirations, and they had an internship related to what they were learning in school.” Did you have that mentor in school? Do you have it in your business now? Better yet, are you that mentor for someone else?

Here’s the other quote that caught my attention, “Graduates who told Gallup that they had a professor or professors “who cared about them as a person — or had a mentor who encouraged their goals and dreams and/or had an internship where they applied what they were learning — were twice as likely to be engaged with their work and thriving in their overall well-being,” Busteed said.” You can see how that would catch my eye; the notion of helping anyone be set up so that they have twice as much chance at becoming a Thriving professional is just too precious an opportunity to pass by.

Mentoring has benefits for all those engaged in the process so for you as a Thriving Practitioner isn’t it time to look at this if you’ve not already done so? Let’s take a quick look at how you will benefit now that we know how a student or less seasoned practitioner will.

Mentors get to have a relationship with a person they might not otherwise have been exposed to or have gotten to know either because of where they are professionally or because their own Thriving Practice has made it difficult to engage with less seasoned Practitioners. In working with a mentoree the mentor gets an opportunity to look at their own practices from a different perspective, perhaps allowing them to see challenges in a new and exciting way.

Being a mentor also allows the Thriving Practitioner to break down their leadership skills so as to teach it, role model it and examine it a bit more carefully. Using the age-old adage, ‘watch one, do one, teach one’, we can see how this would help all involved view leadership in a new and perhaps revitalized way.

As a more experienced Thriving Practitioner it’s also easy to lose sight of other points of view as we may come to accept what is considered a practice or method, “the way it’s done.” Having a mentoree allows the mentor to hear other points of view and perhaps stay more informed about current trends and methods.

Finally having a mentoree has the very real power to re-energize and focus your Thriving Practice. Sharing your skills, wisdom and insights can be very satisfying. Sounds like a sweet deal!

I’m curious to hear from you; have you had a mentor? Are you mentoring someone now or have you in the past? Have you found it be valuable? Drop me a line and tell me about it!

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