Building a New Generation of Mentors and Protégés
From school-age children to professionals navigating their careers, mentoring has gained a lot of traction over the last several years. National Mentoring Month is observed each year in January, focusing on ways to increase the number of mentors available to young people and building awareness of mentoring in our communities. Advocates show the importance of having dependable mentors for young people to look up to and follow in their footsteps.
By celebrating mentoring and the positive effect it can have on young lives, leaders organizing events during National Mentoring Month showcase mentoring in its various forms and recruit individuals to act as mentors, especially in programs with waiting lists of young people. There’s also a push for rapid growth in business organizations, as various mentoring programs are created.
Youthful Benefits of Mentoring
Every day, mentors fill critical needs in our communities and serve as role models. They make a tremendous difference in the academic, physical, emotional, mental and spiritual development of their mentees. Through their dedication and commitment, mentors build value, develop character, and encourage learning and leadership skills.
For young students, a mentor can be a source of fun or help raise a child’s confidence and self-esteem, which can ultimately lead to better performance at school. As a child gets older, a mentor can be a sounding board to talk about problems or help set future career goals. Youth with mentors have higher rates of high school graduation and are less likely to drop out of school. They are also more likely to create big goals for themselves.
When pulling form various life experiences, adult mentors can offer a new outlook to young people and help them see various sides of a situation. When problems and obstacles seem unmanageable or overwhelming, mentors can help put those challenges in perspective and can help provide positive solutions.
Research confirms quality mentoring relationships have powerful positive effects. At-risk teenagers who have a mentor are:
- 52% less likely to skip a day of school
- 55% more likely to enroll in college
- 78% more likely to volunteer regularly
- 90% are interested in becoming a mentor
- 130% more likely to hold leadership positions
Professional Mentoring Has Rewards
Corporate mentoring programs have developed to pair up emerging leaders with more experienced professionals. These mentors foster career development by coaching, guiding and listening to protégés within their organization.
Especially in a business setting, here are some key points mentors should keep in mind:
- Be a good listener.
- Uniqueness is important.
- Consistency is critical.
- Genuine and honest feedback is essential
- Empower your mentee to be a problem solver.
- Move beyond coaching to also focus on dreams and aspirations.
- Share responsibilities by honoring limits and boundaries.
During National Mentoring Month, we recognize and appreciate the millions of Americans who set aside time to invest in the success of their protégés lives by volunteering as mentors. If you’ve never acted as a mentor, consider how you might use your time and talents to help transform the life of a child, young adult or colleague.