The Value of Mentoring: Mentorships Drive Success

3/25/2019 - By Claire Poirier, JD

Have you ever been in a mentor-mentee relationship that exceeded expectations? What was it that made an impression on you? Did you grow beyond the parameters of the mentorship? Many mentor-mentee relationships are far from one-sided, in fact, they have room to be as multi-dimensional as you let them be. Often, the benefits of mentorships can shape both the mentor and the mentee, professionally and personally. 

Being a mentee has its obvious benefits of receiving wisdom, guidance, clarity, and encouragement. Acting as a mentor can be just as rewarding. Both the mentor and the mentee are capable of reaching new levels of inspiration, wisdom, and direction when both parties are open to learning from one another. When the mentor-mentee relationship "clicks" there is a true "win-win" for everyone involved.

What makes a mentorship so great for everyone involved?
When both parties "click," the mentor-mentee relationship gives way to trusting communication. Trusting communication leads to growth for both parties. When both parties are free to grow, the growth has no boundaries. For instance, within my own mentorship, I received not only business development advice but also advice on how to manage work-life balance with raising a small child and how to map out my own career potential. Within business development mentoring, I’ve also learned to handle social situations that I once thought of as obstacles, but now have a clear road map for handling. These are just small examples of how mentoring can help you succeed in areas beyond the set parameters. 

Mentor-mentee relationships can form without any formal “mentoring.”
Having a humble attitude, one where you can learn from others opens up possibilities of personal growth wherever you go. When you find a professional that you “click” with and admire, take the opportunity to learn from them. This goes beyond the borders of your own career. A successful mentorship can form with a professional from another career path, another generation, or another worldview. Having an attitude where you are open to learning from others will provide you the benefit of almost constant mentorship in your own life. I’ll never forget having office hours within one of my college of business clubs at Auburn where we worked with professionals who networked for a living. I was able to pick up so many tips and tricks from watching them interact with others and having conversations where they told stories of their professional experiences. They carried a sense of professionalism, genuine care for others, and integrity that could be sensed from those around them. I learned more about how to successfully network from this informal mentoring relationship than I ever imagined.

What are the benefits of being a mentor?
One of the natural benefits is gaining a sense of giving back to the culture, industry, and community around you. Being able to pour into those around you gives you a sense of purpose, refreshment, and encouragement for the future. If we do not teach or provide for those coming behind us in life, we will miss out on the opportunity to have them learn from previous mistakes. Giving back in the way of teaching and mentoring is truly an avenue to help others. Many of us in accounting are in this industry because we love to help people. Whether helping through advice, knowledge or soft skills, mentoring creates an opportunity to help people beyond the borders of business facts and figures.

Mentoring also provides a different perspective on your own life. Taking the time to talk openly with someone from a different point of view, where you put yourself in their shoes, is helpful for both involved. This point of view gives the mentor a perspective of what the younger generations face in their lives and their careers. This helps the mentor succeed in management, recruiting, and relating to people of a different generation. The adage that “the best way to learn is to teach” rings true with mentoring. Does what I am teaching match up with how I am acting in reality? Is the subject matter I'm focusing going to benefit the mentee long term? How can I better practice what I’m teaching? Having the opportunity to reflect on these types of questions can bring intentionality to your own career. 

Whether you are the mentor or the mentee, you are bound to learn, grow, help, encourage, and succeed in your own career with this give and take relationship.

About the Author | Claire Poirier, JD
Claire is a senior in the Tax & Accounting Services Department of Saltmarsh, Cleaveland & Gund. Prior to joining Saltmarsh in August 2016, Claire worked for several years focusing on trusts, estates and high net worth individuals with a national firm in Jacksonville, FL.

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