We’ve all got a million things to do.
Juggling all of our work responsibilities, from preparing for meetings, responding to emails, and carrying out our daily projects, can seem daunting. Throw in the stressors and challenges of our personal lives, and we naturally have to push aside some tasks into the “I’ll get there when I get there” category.
Unfortunately, clearing our schedule to engage in the practice of mentorship is often one of these back-burner activities.
Finding time is one of the biggest obstacles to fruitful mentoring relationships: 41% of mentees reported that it was difficult to schedule time with their mentor, according to a survey from Nazarene University.
That same study, however, reported that the average relationship involves roughly four hours of talking per month (read: less than an hour per week) and less than one in-person meeting per month. Not so bad!
Perhaps it’s time we rethink our attitude towards mentorship in order to get the most out of our valuable time.
Here are three factors to consider:
1. Mentorship doesn’t have to be time-intensive.
Some professionals may feel overwhelmed by the idea of mentorship, as if they have to be on-call 24/7 and provide countless hours of help. It’s important to remember that you’re just here to help and share experiences — your mentee’s entire future isn’t in your hands as a mentor.
Mentorship doesn’t have to look like a traditional one-on-one meetup during work hours. It can be as simple as contributing a story or advice on LinkedIn or an online forum, like Mentor Spaces. Texts, emails, and phone calls can suffice as check-ins when in-person sessions aren’t possible. Think of mentorship as feeding a rope bit-by-bit, rather than dropping an anchor down all at once.
2. You’ll be empowering someone else by sharing your experience…
Mentorship today is about inclusion and experience. By sharing your experiences with a single mentee or a larger community, you’re helping “weave the fabric”, adding your own expertise in each strand you contribute.
A person can’t be who they haven’t seen. A generation of underrepresented talent can benefit greatly just from hearing from successful professionals who have been through similar struggles, come from similar places, or pursue similar passions.
3. …and empowering yourself.
The new definition of mentorship is more democratic, less hierarchical than what many believed it to be in the past. While emerging professionals gain plenty of insight by speaking with a more established figure, the relationship is now more symbiotic.
Perhaps connecting with a younger colleague provides new perspectives into burgeoning social trends or work practices. Maybe the next great CEO is looking for your advice.
Additionally, reflecting on one’s own experience can create confidence and reinforce a mentor’s strengths. The theory of the Learning Pyramid suggests that we retain only about 5% of the information we take in while listening to a lecture. Compare that to a 90% retention rate when we teach others how to do something. Being an active participant in a mentoring relationship is a good way to build your own skillsets.
Mentor Spaces Can Help!
If you’ve decided mentoring is right for you, you’ll need a platform that helps you connect with potential mentees and streamlines the mentorship process.
Mentor Spaces is an online community for mentors to sync with underrepresented young professionals and unlock the full potential of emerging leaders, all while gaining confidence and leadership skills for themselves along the way. You can define your time commitment, from one-on-one mentoring sessions to contributions to Spaces, our online forum for asynchronous learning and communication.
Talent is equally distributed, but access and opportunity are lagging behind. Become a mentor to help inspire and provide social capital for new generations. As a mentor you will act as an advisor, motivator, guide and referral agent. Share your lived experience and maximize your impact.