Why Mentors, Mentor
Mentors find their own reasons to connect with mentees
SOMETIMES the reasons pleasantly surprise us!
CRIEC conducted some research with about 25 of our Mentors in 2012. We were curious about why Mentors were willing to devote their valuable time and energy in meeting with newcomer professionals in mentoring partnerships. Often this meant an hour a week for coffee and conversation over the course of several months. Not a large undertaking but not insignificant either. You had to commit to wanting to be a CRIEC Mentor.
We weren’t sure exactly why people mentored – was the camaraderie, the mutual learning, the professional development? Yes, Yes and Yes. But the #1 reason caught me, at least, a little off guard.
We learned that the #1 reason for almost every Mentor in our focus group was that Mentoring was an highly effective way to “give back to the community” – in other words, a means to provide advice and support to emerging professionals as a way of building community.
This was a complex and multi-layered reason to want to mentor and deserved a deeper dive in order to get a real understanding of what it means to “give back to the community”. Was it merely a form of Thankfulness? Was it actually more philosophical? Or was it really just elegantly quite simple?
And so we dug in and asked even more questions to explore what this meant. What community? Why give back? How was Mentoring a way of giving back? How did the community benefit?
Some of our Mentors saw their mentoring as a natural part of their own Circle of Life – as elders passed knowledge and ways of knowing to them, they in turn were now doing the same. Life is a large continuous loop of learning, living, re-learning and so on. The community gained by this knowledge transfer.
Other Mentors called this reason Paying It Forward – positively doing unto others as was previously done for them. Similar to the Circle of Life but in perhaps a more linear straight ahead direction. I will help others in the same manner in which people have helped me. Life is a series of bridges joining me to everyone else. The community benefited by these inter-connections.
And one of my favourite Mentors called this 3-Generation Support (and in certain circumstances it may actually be 4 or 5 generations) – a means of ensuring we thank the previous generation(s), inspire the next generation(s) and provide this generation with stability and hope. This provided the means by which a community would be self-sustaining.
All of these speak to Connectivity – linking yesterday, today and tomorrow through human endeavor. Mentoring is People. Pretty simple stuff really.
You can read more about mentoring as a way of saying thanks or paying it forward or giving back to the community. Here are a few cool stories and practical strategies that might just inspire you.
Learn more about Mentoring with CRIEC, here or give us a call at: 587 894 7580.
Written by: Bruce Randall, Executive Director of CRIEC
Our amazing team members, and awesome mentors themselves: Rosa and Jaya!