What Does a Mentor Do? (Plus Benefits of Mentorship)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 20 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Investing in a mentor-mentee relationship may be extremely helpful to your career. Mentors can assist you in gaining professional knowledge, developing skills to help you accomplish your personal career objectives and linking you with industry leaders and trends. Mentors can also hone their own leadership and development abilities by assisting younger, less-experienced members in their sector. In this article, we explore what a mentor does, discuss the mechanics of mentoring and provide tips to help both parties benefit from the relationship.

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What does a mentor do?

If you're considering joining a mentor programme, you may wish to learn about the responsibilities of a mentor. A mentor is a person who works as an advisor or coach to a mentee who is less experienced or more advanced, giving expertise and professional knowledge from a more experienced perspective. The idea is for you to assist the individual you're mentoring, often referred to as the mentee, in achieving their dreams and ambitions. A mentor is accessible to their mentee to give guidance, support and answer questions. Mentors look out for their mentee's best interests.

Related: How to Write a Thank-You Letter for a Mentor (With Tips)

Mentors and mentees typically gain from this connection, while mentors frequently benefit from functioning as trusted advisers. While the connection might be casual or formal, it's usually regarded professionally. Mentor connections might range from a one-time session through the rest of your career. Some mentors assist employees with a number of challenges in the workplace, such as obtaining promotions, taking on new duties and creating interpersonal connections. Listed below are some common responsibilities outlining what mentors do:

  • sharing life experiences and knowledge

  • providing motivation and inspiration

  • listening when necessary and offering help or advice when requested

  • assisting the mentee in setting objectives and exploring various career possibilities

  • examining the mentee's resume and assisting them in preparing for interviews Assisting the mentee in developing their own leadership abilities

  • recommending new options for the mentee to pursue to enhance their skills

How can a mentor assist you during your career?

Mentors may assist you in a number of ways. Mentors can give tangible benefits, such as acting as a reference or submitting your resume to firms where you want to start a career. A mentor may also provide useful professional advice on how to grow in your job, how to enhance your CV, interview preparation and other topics. Mentors can answer mentees' enquiries about their industry and urge them to think critically about their career choice.

Mentors, who are usually more senior members of a sector, are well-positioned to assist mentees in considering their long-term growth. A mentor may also assist you in practising interviews for scholarships, new employment or academic places. Because your mentor has most likely attended and conducted interviews previously, they may be able to assist you in preparing more fully than relatives or friends.

Related: Why Is Networking Important and How to Start Networking

Types of mentors

While there are many different forms of mentoring, a broad grasp of three types of mentorship can help you decide which sort of mentor is ideal for you:

Peer mentors

Peer mentors are professional colleagues who provide guidance. When you start at a new firm, for instance, a peer mentor may share your position and teach you about the work. Peer mentors also may assist in learning about employment vacancies or providing advice on business culture. Peer mentors routinely check in and participate in both official sessions and social situations, such as lunch or happy hour.

Career mentors

Career mentors are usually in a higher position and act as advocates and guides for their mentees. Career mentors can assist their mentees in understanding where their present position could go. While career mentors are sometimes the managers of their mentees, they might also work in a separate area of the organisation. Peer mentors typically check in with their mentees more frequently than career mentors.

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Life mentors

Generally speaking, life mentors are in their late phases of a career and might have employment within or outside of your present organisation. Life mentors can provide guidance through tough professional decisions, such as deciding whether to quit a job or change careers to find new employment. They can also be a reliable source of sensitive and objective information.

How to be an effective mentee

Each mentor-mentee relationship is unique depending on the people involved, their ambitions and their expectations, but there are various methods to get the most of your mentorship:

1. Be involved and interested.

Showing real interest in your mentor is one of the finest ways to be a successful mentee. Enquire about their job and how they got to where they are. Although you don't have to take every piece of their advice, it is beneficial to take the things they say into consideration.

2. Participate in the connection.

Following your mentor's advice demonstrates that you appreciate the connection. It also demonstrates that you're serious about your career objectives and professional growth. This may further pique their interest in coaching you.

3. Practise taking and using suggestions.

Be receptive to your mentor's observations which may include both good and negative feedback. Receiving honest criticism from a more experienced person in your field is incredibly valuable and may help you concentrate your attention on areas where you want to improve. It can also assist you in identifying qualities that you may not have been aware of.

4. Be considerate of your mentor's time.

Do not contact them more frequently than necessary and bring specific queries and subjects of discussion to your appointments. For instance, you may enquire about how to prepare for a promotion or how to enhance a certain talent. Above all, remember to show your mentor respect and thanks for their time and commitment.

Related: How to Write a Thank-You Letter for a Mentor (With Tips)

What qualities should I look for in a mentor?

While your demands from a mentor may alter over time, there are a few continuous features you may always seek:

  • Compatibility. While it might take time to get to know someone, you may consider seeking a mentor with whom you have a true connection. Look for experts that not only have the professional knowledge to assist you but also share your basic beliefs.

  • A variety of viewpoints. Mentors might be helpful by providing a fresh viewpoint. Be willing to collaborate with a mentor from a different background than your own, as these mentors may be able to help you see your profession in a fresh light.

  • Trust. It's important that you're able to provide private information to your mentor. Although it may take some time to develop this kind of relationship, search for someone with whom you can establish mutual respect.

  • Expertise. Your mentor may not always be the most experienced person in the profession to help you. Although they usually know how to help, in the case that you need more advanced help, seek someone who has the necessary expertise to assist you.

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How to be a good mentor

Mentoring may be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. It allows you to engage with the future generation of leaders and assist junior colleagues in shaping their careers. Each mentor-mentee connection is unique. Nonetheless, there are a few things to consider while working with a mentee to ensure that the experience is beneficial to both parties:

  1. Set your expectations. Explain your viewpoint on your job, what you expect to bring to the table and set appropriate boundaries. Tell your mentee about the assistance you want to give, how frequently you'd like to meet, your favourite mode of contact and anything else you think is relevant.

  2. Listen first, then respond. Concentrate on your mentee's needs and aspirations and make a point of asking follow-up questions. Before committing to a mentor position, consider gaining a clear grasp of what they expect from the connection.

  3. Make opportunities available. Connecting your mentee with opportunities is an invaluable resource. Assist them in expanding their professional network by offering to connect them with suitable contacts.

  4. Become acquainted with your mentee. Inquire about your mentee's history, goals and preferred ways to spend their time. Getting to know them as a person is a good way to provide personalised counsel.

Related: What Is Career Development? (With Strategies and Tips)

The advantages of mentoring

While mentees clearly benefit the most from mentorship, mentors can get personal and professional value from the connection as well. Serving as a mentor can help you expand your professional network while also strengthening your skills and expertise. If you're in a senior position, serving as a mentor might introduce you to knowledge and trends that you may not be aware of. Serving as a mentor can give fulfilment since you're able to help others in the same manner that you've received in your career.

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