How Mentoring Can Improve Your Leadership Skills
A mentor is often someone in a leadership position, who is willing to offer themselves to transfer skills to those in an organization who may be up-and-coming movers and shakers in the industry, or even seasoned leaders to enhance their careers and help them advance. While taking on the mentor role is designed to help the mentee, the experience is not one-sided. Being a mentor offers you an amazing opportunity to enhance your skills and become a better leader.
Following are some essential skills a mentor might consider when helping others develop. In my practice as a leadership coach and trainer, many of these topics come up in discussion.
Learn Open and Supportive Communication Skills
Communication requires both the message sender and the message receiver to do more than act passively. As you learn the communication process and how it all works, you’ll become a better communicator who listens and speaks with thought and concern for supporting the other person in their understanding.
Practice and Perfect Your Listening Skills
Mentors need to listen to their mentees to know what they need. Just the act of needing to listen is good practice for you for the rest of your career because listening is a skill that most people need to practice more often. Listening isn’t just hearing. It’s hearing with the intent to understand in an active way that requires you to ask questions to get answers. When a mentor listens well he/she will be able to provide better direction and also demonstrate a skill the mentee will need to develop as well.
Learn How to Provide Constructive Criticism
When you mentor someone, you need to give them feedback. As a leader, you will often be tasked with providing feedback to all kinds of folks to help ensure the impact you’re making and the results you’re producing are as top-notch as you desire. However, sometimes this is a forgotten process that is ignored. When you mentor, you need to do it as it’s the main function of the relationship that you learn to do positively. This positive feedback will help you in all areas of your leadership.
Encourages Lifelong Learning
While a mentor’s key role is to help usher the less experienced person into the future potential, the truth is that it allows you to learn more. Getting stuck in old ways of doing and thinking is common, but when a less experienced person comes along and asks new questions based on their unique perception of the world, you’ll be forced to learn new things that will take your mentoring and coaching to the next level too.
Establishes New Strong Relationships
Even though a mentor is seen as slightly ahead of the mentee in their career, the relationship you build as you help them navigate their life and career through your experience can really help you later. Furthermore, these relationships are built in a mutually respectful way, which will carry over into other avenues of opportunity.
Increases Your Professional Credibility
If you are known as the person who takes the time to help others and open the door wider so others can come through, it just makes you seem even better. As a leader, you’re not worried about someone taking over from you, and you want someone to do that eventually, so you help create future leaders by your mentorship.
Builds More Self Awareness
When you help someone slightly behind you with experiencing the success you have thus far, it feels good because you get to see yourself from a new perspective. The more perspectives you can see yourself, the more you get to know who you are and what is important to you.
Improves Your Coaching Skills
Most leaders are tasked with coaching others through solving a problem, but they may not realize it. Once you mentor someone, you’ll start to notice ways to use this skill within the workplace or your business and even in your personal life with your family.
Finally, taking on mentorship can help you become a better leader. As you build your people skills with each mentee you take on, you’ll become a much more knowledgeable, open, and respected leader who is not stuck in the old ways.
I personally would not be where I am today without the mentoring of many great leaders who have been ahead of me in some way. I encourage people to have mentors in all areas of life. Leadership is important, but so is our health, financial success, parenting, and especially our spiritual and mental mindset development. Find a mentor for each of these areas and encourage others to do the same.
I personally love helping people develop their leadership skills, their mindset for success, and a personal growth plan.
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