Acclaimed businessman and author Bob Proctor once said, “A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you.”  

Everyone who has ever achieved anything has had someone help them get to where they are. No one achieves anything alone. And no matter what stage of life or career we are in, there is always room for growth and improvement. More times than not, someone has walked the path before you who can help you along your journey to success.  

That’s why January is the perfect time to consider the importance of mentoring, regardless the stage of your career, as it is National Mentoring Month. Our associates at MJ have the opportunity to participate in MJ Connect, our internal mentorship program. This program is designed to inspire the success and fulfillment of our associates by guiding individual growth, sharing intellectual wisdom and fostering a culture of collaboration. 

Many of our associates have participated in MJ Connect and reaped the benefits from both mentoring and being mentored – demonstrated in the following quotes from two of our associates: 

“MJ Connect has provided me with an advocate I can lean on if I have questions or need someone to talk to. I truly feel as if my mentor is there to support me and has my best interest at heart.” 

 ‘MJ Connect has really helped me focus on personal growth. Having a mentor share the road they’ve taken has been a tremendous motivator for me. Truly an amazing experience!” 

Mentoring, whether formal or informal, is a critical part of a robust professional development plan. At MJ, we consider it so critical that we have integrated it into our Total Rewards Consulting practice. As we continue to enhance our professional development offerings for our associates at MJ, we also aim to equip our clients with the tools they need to discover the best resources and programs to help both their people and their business succeed.  

A balanced mentoring relationship is mutually beneficial for both the mentor and the mentee. Because the mentor is further along in their career, they’re able to share their experiences, lessons learned and coach their mentee through professional development and long-term career planning. It’s also a way to pay it forward by investing in the next generation. The mentor also benefits from exposure to new ideas, perspectives and insights from their mentee.  

Besides the rewarding feeling of giving back, the mentor gains many personal development benefits through mentoring. Increased self-awareness, improved communication skills and increased job satisfaction are just a few advantages. Learning the art of asking questions and delivering feedback are particularly valuable skills a mentor can gain through the experience. 

The mentee, on the other hand, is positioned to glean key insights from their more seasoned mentor’s experiences. More than just career development, mentees have a lot to gain, including improved goal setting, stronger communication skills and increased confidence and self-awareness. Those who regularly meet with a mentor are also more likely to receive support and advocacy from their mentor and be promoted throughout their career.  

As you can see, mentorship has countless benefits for both mentors and mentees. Envision the direction you want to take your career and think about the potential impact of having a mentor or becoming a mentor yourself. Inquire at your workplace to see if a mentorship program is already in place, and if so, take advantage of the opportunity. Connecting with professionals in your industry may also lead to a successful mentoring relationship.  

Mentorship is not limited to professional development in the workplace. Check out nonprofits in your community to find mentoring opportunities. National organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters and Boys and Girls Club are centered around youth mentoring and have operations throughout the country. Edge Mentoring is an organization that encourages intergenerational relationships by pairing community leaders with young professionals.  The nonprofit Mentor offers an online database to search for local mentoring opportunities in your area. 

Ultimately, this National Mentoring Month is a great time to take ownership of your professional development and explore the possibilities of a mentoring relationship that will help take you and your career to the next level.