Mentorship: What is it and why is it useful?

By: Brittany Walker, Graduate Assistant

“My mentor said, ‘Let’s go do it,’ not ‘You go do it.’ How powerful when someone says, ‘Let’s!’”
— Jim Rohn

The above-mentioned quote illustrates the gift of mentorship because it addresses many students’ fears – accomplishing their dreams alone. Mentorship is a unique relationship between two individuals that encourages bilateral learning. The relationship involves a strong level of accountability and is not limited by time or even distance because the prime goal is optimal professional and personal development.

The mentor serves as a valuable asset because of their experience and expertise in the professional world. Individuals typically seek mentors to serve as a source of support and guiding them along their personal and professional journey. The role of a mentor can expand from knowledge sharing and general support to facilitating the growth of one’s professional network. Mentors also have more access to industry resources that could prove advantageous to one’s skill development and future success in their field.

As stated earlier, mentorship is not a one-sided relationship. Mentees produce a significant amount of change in the life of mentor’s as well. Mentee’s provide an opportunity for a mentor to develop leadership skills as they are now tasked with the duty to serve as a role model and effectively communicate the values of the field. Mentors also can develop a great sense of pride in their new role and as a result, improve work performance.

Mentorship fosters vital connections that will allow both parties to be engaged in the success of another. While many believe that the ladder to success entails greed and self-centeredness, mentorship allows individuals to be just as concerned about another’s success as they are their own. This is a progressive method to ensure that passionate individuals are investing their time and energy to protect the values of the field. As we begin National Career Development Month, remember that an essential step to building connections is to seek a mentoring relationship!

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