This Year, Give Back: Mentor Someone

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Forbes on 12/29/2019 by Jon Younger

My writing on the freelance revolution usually starts with a story about an interesting startup, a challenge facing freelancers, or a skill set that characterizes highly successful independent professionals. But, in this last piece of the year, I’m taking liberties by recommending that your 2020 agenda include at least one new responsibility.

Mentor someone.

Would it surprise you to learn that, according to a recent survey, mentoring is highly valued, valued enough that January is National Mentoring month? Almost 20% of young professionals and even 9% of retired individuals describe themselves as grateful beneficiaries of a current mentorship. Author Chris Farrell, writing in next avenue, reports that mentoring is as attractive to organizational CEO’s as to young professionals; a Young President’s Organization (YPO) survey found “half its members were interested in mentoring and the other half were interested in being mentored.”

Moreover, those presidents who wanted to mentor were enthusiastic in part because they thought they would learn and become a better person from mentoring.

Does mentoring make a difference to the individual being mentored? The data is very clear: mentoring is a key contributor to individual development, and that translates to professional performance and well-being. A meta-analytic study of mentoring combining the results of many research efforts found that mentoring reliably benefited the mentee. The authors summarized their findings this way, “Regardless of the meta-analytic method used, mentoring was significantly related to favorable behavioral, attitudinal, health-related, interpersonal, motivational, and career outcomes.”

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