Enhance Your Career Success by Mentoring Others

In a post last Friday, I mentioned that January is National Mentoring Month.  In that post, I discussed what you should look for in a mentor.  Today, I’d like to urge you to begin mentoring others.  Just as it’s important to find someone you respect to mentor you, it’s also important to mentor others.  You don’t have to be in a formal leadership position or have years and years of experience to mentor someone else.  It’s never too early to become a mentor.  We all have something to give, and the sooner you begin giving, the better.  If you’re in college, you can mentor high school students.  If you’re a recent graduate, you can mentor others still in school.

I take great joy in mentoring other people.  I love it when I can use my experience to help accelerate the growth of someone else.  It takes the sting out of some of the negative consequences I’ve experienced because of poor judgment.  I think to myself, “At least he or she won’t have to go through that.”

In his great book, Love is the Killer App, Tim Sanders tells the story of how he turned one of the people who worked for him from a “mad dog” into a “lovecat.”  The advice is simple: “Offer your wisdom freely… And always be human.”

Tim is right on.  Mentoring is a great way to become a lovecat by serving others.  The more you serve others, the more confidence – and success – will come your way.

Besides that, you’ll grow by mentoring.  As you reflect on your life experiences and distill them into some nuggets that you can share with others, your knowledge will become wisdom.  In addition to being better able to help others learn and grow, you will be better able to take advantage of what you know.  You never learn something so completely as when you teach it to another person.

Any mentoring relationship needs to focus on the person being mentored.  While mentoring someone will most often be a satisfying experience for you, remember that it is not about you – it’s about the other person.  Accept him or her for who he or she is.  Help him or her proceed at his or her own pace.  The best mentoring relationships are guided by the person being mentored.

Mentoring should be a positive experience for both of you.  That means that you need to avoid treating a person you are mentoring as incompetent or incapable.  Rather, think of him or her as someone lacking in experience and who needs guidance.  Don’t criticize.  Help the other person think through the consequences of his or her behavior and to identify more positive ways of handling difficult or troubling situations.

Hold the person you are mentoring responsible for his or her success.  Give him or her small assignments.  Don’t let him or her off the hook if he or she fails to complete them.  Be willing to give of yourself and your time, but make sure the other person is doing so, too.

Realize that the relationship will end.  If you’ve done a good job, the person you are mentoring will need to move on at some point.  It’s all part of the cycle.  It can be hard to let go, but feel good about seeing someone move on to bigger and better things – and another mentor.

I’ve shared an acronym to define what it takes to become a good mentor.  A good mentor…

M Motivates you to accomplish more than you think you can.

E Expects the best of you.

N Never gives up on you or lets you give up on yourself.

T Tells you the truth, even when it hurts.

O Occasionally kicks your butt.

R Really cares about you and your success.

Look for people with these qualities when you are searching for a mentor.  Embody them yourself when you are mentoring others.

The common sense career success coach point here is simple.  Just as mentors can help you create the life and career success you want and deserve.  You can help others create their life and career success by becoming a mentor. It’s never too early to begin mentoring others.  There is always someone who needs your career advice; someone who needs to know what you’ve already learned.  Take some of your time to share what you know.  Be a positive person.  Help others achieve the life and career success they want and deserve.

That’s my career advice on furthering your career by mentoring others.  What do you think?  Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment.  As always, I appreciate you taking the time to read my daily musings on life and career success.  Thanks.  Check in tomorrow to see what career success tid bits I’ll have for you.


PS: If you haven’t already done so, please download a free copy of my popular career advice book Success Tweets and its companion piece Success Tweets Explained.  The first gives you 140 bits of career success advice tweet style — in 140 characters or less.  The second is a whopping 390 + pages of career advice explaining each of the common sense tweets in Success Tweets in detail.  Go to http://budurl.com/STExp to claim your free copy.  You’ll also start receiving my daily life and career success quotes.

PPS: I opened a membership site last September.  It’s called My Corporate Climb and is devoted to helping people create career success inside large corporations.  You can find out about the membership site by going to http://www.mycorporateclimb.

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  1. Hey, Bud
    Just discovered you and found we have a lot in common. Helping people is the best way to grow and help yourself. I’m 75, retired twice, a cancer survivior, and still teach two nights a week at a local Christian collage. During my recovery from total knee replacement, my brother-in-law gave me a little daily devotional book, GO FOR THE GREEN, and from that came the inspiration (from God) to begin a blog, God Has A Green Thumb, from which a daily devotional for gardeners. I will be interested in following you and some of your advice about mentoring as I am in the process of setting up some mentoring opportunites to pursue as soon as I recover from yet another knee surgery this Friday, 27th of January. Look forward to our relationship. Lou

  2. Thanks for your comment Lou.
    Good luck with your knee repalcement surgery.
    My wife had a total shoulder replacement on November 1.
    I joke with her. I played rugby for over 30 years and still have all of my original equipment.
    She’s the one with repalcement parts.
    Please send me an email (Bud@BudBilanich.com) when you’re feeling up to it and we can set a time to disucss mentoring.
    All the best,

  3. Eric F. Saucier says:

    Life and everything in it is a gift from the infinite mind; and the only way that life can go wrong is by the limited finite mind.

  4. Interesting thoughts, Eric.

    Would you care to elaborate?



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