Many of us have had to sail through unchartered waters without the right gear or conditions. Wouldn’t it have been nice to have a guide? To have someone help you along the way, so you did not feel so alone or lost? Mentorship allows for us to have a partner that provides guidance and support in our academic and professional growth. Mentorship is a mutually beneficial relationship that takes initiative and commitment but should be fun and engaging. Even the most successful people have mentors. Billionaires like Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey, and Sheryl Sandberg credit success to mentorship. Richard Branson famously states that “If you ask any successful businessperson, they will always (say they) have had a great mentor at some point along the road.”
This month is National Mentoring Month and it is a perfect time to highlight the importance and the benefits of mentorship for both the mentee and mentor. The Learning Pyramid suggests that we learn best through discussions, practice, and by teaching others. All of these modes of learning are core components of active learning and mentorship. Therefore, mentorship is the perfect way to combine learning and skills to assist someone to achieve their goals.
Below are seven ways that mentorship can impact your life.
- Increase confidence through identifying strengths and using these strengths to strategically accomplish goals.
- Provide diverse perspectives when working with others, making decisions, and resolving conflicts.
- Guide accountability on interactions and project work.
- Foster a growth mindset to embrace feedback, persevere failure, pursue challenges, and strengthen resilience.
- Encourage creative solutions when problem solving and risk taking.
- Promote thinking skills in new and innovative ways along with a time for reflection.
- Further social-emotional skills to be successful working with others in a variety of environments
As we look forward to post-COVID times, we are full of hope as well as uncertainty. Now is the perfect time to get a mentor or be a mentor and start your journey with focus and determination. It is not easy to navigate unknown terrain, so why do it alone? Mentorship allows you to have a vested interest in someone else’s life. The focus could be academic preparation, career development, or networking. Frequently, all three of these areas combine and the mentorship experience has a lasting impact on someone’s life. “Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence (Sheryl Sandberg).”
If you have a mentor, make sure to share your thanks this month for their time, knowledge, and contribution to your academic and professional development. If you are considering being part of a mentorship program, remember that while it takes time to cultivate the relationship, it is mutually beneficial, and a key to success for so many people!
Samantha Radovich is an education consultant from Colorado who has over fifteen years’ professional experience that spans five countries. She received her M.A. from Middlebury Institute of International Studies and her B.A. from the University of Colorado. Samantha is passionate about teacher education, second language acquisition, and bilingualism.