Mentors aren’t always cheerleaders–but they’re always in your corner. The best mentors will tell you things that you don’t want to hear, but you will be a better leader as a result.
The right mentor can redefine the way you view yourself; they can provoke meaningful self-reflection and stir up new ideas. Mentoring has been one of the most effective ways to tear down the mental limitations that we all put up from time to time.
Above all, mentoring is a partnership. Mentors are invested in both your victories and failures. The wisdom, encouragement, and tough love you receive from mentors is priceless. And because you sometimes can’t directly pay back mentors for all the help they have provided, you should choose to pay it forward instead.
The real advantage of mentoring is in its ability to be transitive, because power shared is power amplified. According to research from a study conducted by Catalyst in 2012, 65% of women who have been mentored will go on to become mentors themselves.
Mentoring also has the potential to trigger significant benefits on a global scale. We know that investing in women has become a new standard; from international development agencies to multinational corporations, those in leadership and policymaking positions are devoting time and resources to advance women, enhance their skills, and leverage their unique contributions.
And yet barriers still remain. These barriers essentially stem from a lack of access–lack of access to opportunities, networks, and advocates. If we start looking at mentorship as a practical strategy to overcome these barriers, it’s certain we’ll be able to close significant gender gaps in a range of fields.