What to consider before becoming a mentor

By Adam Keable, Director

The lifeblood of any community, workplace or team is mentoring, for which the benefits are widely heralded and acknowledged. So I often find it surprising that only around 5% of candidates I speak to actively have a mentor. If we are talking about low-hanging fruit in our industry, this is certainly one of them.

When looking solely into the workplace, did you know that 50% of employees leave their boss and not the company? Given today’s backdrop, the new world of careers requires a different approach and one that is more empathetic and human-focused.

One of golf’s biggest challenges is that many employers do not have the size or bandwidth to implement a robust internal programme. In many cases, individuals have to look outside of their employer which adds barriers to this crucial activity.

One way in which to reduce this barrier is to create more mentors. Our industry is alive with goodwill and we’ve just been a bit slow to push the conversation into the mainstream. However, before we all start to become mentors, there is a few key points to consider:

  • Why do you want to become a mentor?

This is an important first step and it is crucial you are doing it for the right reasons. Is it to advance your own career? To have something good to put on your performance review? Because you feel you have to? If it’s one of these, this might not be the right time to be a mentor. However, it you motivation is because you are comfortable and accomplished in your area of industry or you see potential in an individual that you can help develop, these would be some great reasons.

  • Do you have time?

Before you help others, you must be in a position to ensure your affairs are in order. Mentoring can be a big commitment as to be effective, you not only need to be in a good frame of mind for the conversations, but it is likely you will be indirectly placing mental effort in analysing and reflecting. If being well-intentioned but over-extended, there is a risk of becoming exhausted and detached, and in some cases cynical.

  • Are you competent?

Years of experience, age or job title doesn’t automatically dictate whether you a right or ready to be let loose. The role is more complex, designed to have a deep and meaningful impact on both parties. Therefore if you are serious about considering mentoring, make sure you have looked into your professional competence and mentoring competence. Assessing your professional confidence (technical skills) is relatively straightforward. To assess mentoring competence (interpersonal skills) look into undergoing a personality profile to build self-awareness and gain a deeper understanding of your ability to listen and communicate effectively.

  • Is your mentee showing the right traits?

The relationship is two-way so it is important that you qualify any potential mentees. Identify the personal qualities, interests and aspirations to ensure there is compatibility. Some will be better matched than others so take some time out to get to know the potential mentee before you commit to the relationship.

  • Mentorship team

The dynamics of mentoring have changed and the relationship is far less exclusive. We are now seeing many mentees work with their mentor to create a mentorship team, with members selected for their various areas of knowledge, expertise and career advice. Be prepared and welcome collaboration because it will only increase the value for all parties.

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