National Mentoring Month Special From Katherine Harrington, President & CEO | West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce
When I set out to write this article, I began reflecting on my own experiences with mentoring. At first, I thought to myself, “I haven’t been a mentor to someone.” But then, I realized that couldn’t be further from the truth. Throughout my life, I’ve been helping friends, family, community members, organizations, and teams in various ways. Being a mentor can take on many different forms; it’s not limited to one-on-one relationships. In my case, being part of the West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce feels like being a mentor to our 800 members and the individuals involved in the Chamber.
The Power of Mentoring
Mentoring Throughout Life
Mentoring isn’t confined to formal mentorship programs; it’s a natural part of life. I’ve found myself offering guidance, support, and assistance to numerous people in different settings. Whether it’s providing advice to a colleague, helping a friend make a career decision, or assisting a local organization, mentoring has been an integral part of my journey.
Authenticity and Honesty
In my mentoring experiences, I’ve learned that authenticity and honesty are paramount. It’s essential to be genuine and truthful when offering guidance or answering questions. Being candid and kind in my interactions has allowed me to build trust and meaningful relationships with those I’ve mentored.
Networking and Connections
Mentoring goes beyond individual relationships; it involves connecting mentees with others who can elevate their journey. This approach extends beyond the traditional mentor-mentee dynamic. For me, it means encouraging Chamber members to seek advice and mentorship from various sources, creating a vibrant network of support and growth.
Acknowledging and celebrating the accomplishments of those I’ve mentored has been a rewarding experience. Recognizing their successes not only boosts their confidence but also strengthens our bond. Celebrating achievements together creates a positive and motivating atmosphere.
Being a mentor has brought immense satisfaction not only to those I’ve mentored but also to myself. It’s a fulfilling experience to make a difference in someone’s business and life. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of knowing that your guidance has contributed to someone’s growth and success.
Mentorship in Numbers
Here are some mentorship statistics that underscore the importance of mentoring:
- According to a study by the National Mentoring Partnership, young adults who were at-risk for falling off track but had a mentor are 55% more likely to enroll in college.
- In a survey by LinkedIn, 82% of respondents agreed that mentors had a positive impact on their careers.
- The Center for Talent Innovation found that employees with mentors are more likely to advance in their careers and feel satisfied with their jobs.
Tips for Becoming a Mentor or Finding One
For Aspiring Mentors:
- Identify Your Expertise: Determine your areas of expertise and the skills you can offer to mentees.
- Seek Opportunities: Look for mentoring programs in your community, workplace, or industry.
- Be Patient: Understand that mentoring is a journey, and it takes time to see the impact.
For Those Seeking a Mentor:
- Set Clear Goals: Define what you want to achieve through mentorship and the specific skills or knowledge you’re seeking.
- Networking: Attend events or join groups related to your field to meet potential mentors.
- Initiate Conversations: Don’t be afraid to reach out and express your interest in finding a mentor.
Mentoring is a valuable gift that keeps on giving, benefiting both the mentor and the mentee.
As we celebrate National Mentoring Month, let’s remember that mentoring matters—it builds bonds, confidence, and success, enriching lives and empowering individuals to reach their fullest potential. My journey as a mentor has shown me that being there for others, whether in an official capacity or not, can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life.