January 17, 2023

How to gain experience as a mentor

Mentoring is a great way to give back by sharing what you’ve learned throughout your career and helping guide a mentee toward their goals. Maybe you’ve thought about being a mentor but aren’t sure where to begin. The good news is that you don’t need any formal mentoring experience to start, but there are several ways you can build up your mentoring experience and strengthen the skills you’ll need to be a great mentor. Here are a few ideas to help kick of your mentoring journey.

Take advantage of resources

The beauty of the digital age is that there are an abundance of resources all around. From articles and books to webinars and podcasts, there are countless opportunities to grow and hone your skills. You don’t have to focus on resources exclusively about mentoring to gain valuable knowledge. Resources focused on leadership development, active listening, feedback, and building trust, for example, will all be beneficial to your mentoring experience.

Mentor at work

If you’re in a management role at your job, there’s a good chance you might be mentoring and not even know it. If you’re acting as a role model for your team and guiding them in their careers, you may already have some informal mentoring experience. Informal mentoring with your team is a great way to hone your mentoring skills. Some companies also offer formal mentoring programs internally, which will provide you with additional support as you set out on your mentoring journey. Ask HR if you’re unsure whether or not your company has a program like this in place.

Join a mentor community

Joining a mentor community, such as Femme Palette, is a great way to gain more experience as a mentor. Through joining our mentor community, you’ll have access to a range of resources designed specifically to help our mentors succeed and have the opportunity to network with over 600 other mentors from around the world. Our Chief Mentor and Mentor Success Manager are available to assist and support as you get started and throughout your mentoring journey.

Volunteer with kids

While it’s sometimes overlooked, kids and young adults can be our greatest teachers. Volunteering with kids, especially teenagers who are considering their next steps in life, can open your eyes to new approaches to mentoring and you may receive some reverse mentoring in return. This can be done formally through organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters or by simply being a role model and sounding board for someone at a pivotal point in their lives. Acting as a role model and providing career and life guidance to a young person is an impactful way to gain more experience in mentoring.

Take notes from your own mentor

One of the best ways to discover how to be a great mentor is to observe and learn from other mentors. Working with a mentor yourself is an excellent way to experience firsthand what works and what doesn’t, and to get a better understanding of how mentorship meetings can be structured. It’s also an opportunity to get feedback from someone who is already where you want to go. 

If you’re interested in getting a mentor yourself, you can check out the programs we have available here. If you’re ready to step into the role of being a mentor and join our mentor community, you can find out more about how to apply here.

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