Why it’s great to be a mentor

Have you been a mentor to others?

Is it something that you have ever considered trying before?

Last week I looked at the benefits of mentoring from the mentee’s perspective, this week we are reaching out to those that are more established in their careers to explore the benefits of being a mentor.

To find out more about being a mentor and the value of providing mentorship I went straight to my mentor, Anthony Duckworth, an Events Team Leader at PwC who I attended the MEA Mentoring Program with a few years ago.I could tell Anthony enjoyed being a mentor because the moment I outlined that I was in a fairly new role in a new industry; he couldn’t help but ask me, ‘What next?

I began the conversation by asking him why he initially volunteered his time to be a mentor. At the time of signing up to be a mentor Anthony was already working in a role that had a heavy emphasis on coaching others, but he had a real passion for helping individuals on a broader scale, rather than just individual assistance for their daily tasks.

‘Being a mentor for me is about passing it on – about reaching a point in my career (& life) and being able to turn my hindsight into someone else’s insight. Being a mentor is a privilege and is the most rewarding role I could be asked to play. Its a connection driven by a motivated mentee where no task based answers are sought – its more a relationship built on different perspectives, experiences and open dialogue.’

For those of you who thought that a coach and a mentor were the same thing, I have listed similarities and differences below:


  • Task focus (current and future)
  • Skills and performance Focus
  • Empowerment and accountability for results is shared
  • Usually a line manager role
  • Agenda set with coach
  • Focus on short term (6-12 months)
  • Initiated by line manager
  • Coach provides solutions
  • Feedback to participant
  • Fosters co-dependence leading to independence
  • Deals with factual information
  • Promotes Self Esteem


  • Discovery and development of capability and potential (future)
  • Empowerment of participants to develop their own abilities
  • Can be a non line manager role
  • Agenda set by participant
  • Focus on long term (1 year plus)
  • Initiated by participant
  • Solutions are set together
  • Feedback by participant
  • Fosters independence
  • Deals with feelings and factual information
  • Promotes Self Esteem

While a coach is valuable for resolving on the spot issues and directing your current position and tasks, the mentor will be valuable in helping you decipher the ‘what if’ scenarios of your future and how you can turn those dreams into a reality.

Can anyone be mentor? Of course!

Anthony told me about his first mentor. Very early in his career, Anthony was attending a conference where one of the guest speakers really inspired him. He wrote a hand-written note in an attempt to make a connection with the individual. He had no idea whether he would get a response or not, but he used his initiative. The mentor was so touched by the hand written note that he shared this note with his family and he was very moved by Anthony’s personal touch. And would you believe it, Anthony still meets with this mentor to this day – many years later!

So what is the value in becoming a mentor?

For Anthony, the greatest reward is being energised by being with an individual who is eager to learn, motivated, enthusiastic and follows up.  Someone who can communicate, challenge you as a mentor through open questions and is genuinely seeking the mentor’s guidance. He feels that he is really able to help, but at the same learn so much himself through the process.

This of course is all subject to the relationship that you build with a mentee, and as a mentor you must be as open and willing to build a relationship with your mentee as much as they are willing to seek you out for your support and guidance.

And I can comfortably say that there are a lot of mentees out there, whether they are new to an industry or a recent graduate, and they may not even be seeking someone in the same industry, just someone who can provide them with a fresh, creative and wise approach to their future.

I haven’t had a chance to be a mentor to others, but I can say that if I had the opportunity I would certainly take it.

Do you have any stories about the benefits of mentoring or what you have learned from your mentor?