Mentorship is a collaborative relationship between two people where one provides support, development, and direction to the other. Mentorship plays an important role for many in supporting their professional development and high-level executives have credited mentorship as being pivotal to their success.  Yet, its use tends to vary between genders, industries, and more. A 2019 study indicated that only 56% of people surveyed had ever had a mentor and 37% currently had a mentor. Those in the science industry fared best with a reported 66% having had mentors. 
So, what are the benefits of mentorship and why should you volunteer to be a mentor to others? Over time, the mentor/mentee relationship can become a friendship that lasts a lifetime, making the time commitment an investment in a positive future. However, it’s important to stress that this is something that needs to be set out with your mentee and that you need to make yourself available and accessible. A distracted mentor isn’t going to offer the support and advice that’s needed, so dedicated time is essential.
Mentoring others also supports further development of leadership skills by keeping you in tune with the next generation of the workforce and their unique needs. And it can lead to new ideas and perspectives. Finally, by helping your mentee make connections and grow their professional network, it has the added benefit of keeping you connected as well and visible as a leader in the industry.
Association for Talent Development reports that “[a] good mentor can help the mentee become more effective at work, learn new skills, develop greater confidence, and make better decisions for their overall career growth.”  All huge benefits to both the mentee and the organization they work for. Both the mentor and mentee may benefit from increased self-confidence and certainly during a global pandemic, frequent touch base meetings can stave off the negative effects of self-isolation. Mentees also gain the encouragement and support they need to take risks and try new things, furthering their development and skillset.
For organizations, supporting mentorship programs can help grow a positive company culture and support the growth of entry-level staff into positions of management and leadership.  Having a mentorship program can also help with recruiting new talent and reducing overall staff turn-over. Mentorship has also been found to build and support diversity by providing a safe space to share opinions and seek assistance. Mentors can also act as an ally to their mentees, transferring the benefits of specific privileges to those that lack it and by amplifying the voices of their mentees.
Have you participated in a rewarding mentor/mentee relationship? Share your experiences with Women in Standards, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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