Mentors are essential to professional development and success. If you are a Lawyerist reader, then you should have a mentor and a mentee. And mentoring should be a way of life, an integral part of your professional development efforts. Why? Because mentors make you better. Mentees do, too. And both are an important part of your network.
Here are just 3 of the many reasons that you should mentor and be mentored. The first two are obvious and intuitive, but the third reason is all-too-often overlooked.
- Mentors make you better. They provide advice, accountability and insight. They push you to think in different ways, take risks and make good choices.
- Mentees make you better, too. They offer you an opportunity to share what you know and to be helpful. They bring fresh perspectives to familiar terrain and cause you to articulate, and often rethink, your values and assumptions.
- Mentors and mentees (should) comprise an important part of your network. They become friends, colleague and confidants. But they may also become useful connections.
Mentors can be a very important part of your network, during and after the mentoring relationship ends. Mentors understand your goals and what you have to offer, and they are invested in you. Odds are this sense of investment will increase over time. Mentors are therefore terrific resources for connections, references and introductions.
Mentees may not have the same kind of immediate cachet, but they will. And your mentees, like your mentors, understand what you have to offer. They also may feel that they “owe you one” for being their mentor.
If you want to read more about how to make mentoring a way of life, check out Keith Ferrazzi’s new book, Who’s Got Your Back: The Breakthrough Program to Build Deep, Trusting Relationships that Create Success–and Won’t Let You Fail.