Why Become a Mentor

To countless success stories, mentorship is the sole reason that greatness was achieved. From sporting legends to Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, there’s no denying that behind every successful individual is a mentor who’s worked tirelessly to coach, support and guide.

Looking for proof? Check out some of these celebrity success stories…

  • For fans of Bob Dylan, the legendary singer songwriter is a folk deity. Yet what most people don’t know is that Dylan was personally mentored by iconic US musician Woody Guthrie. From a boyhood fan to one of Guthrie’s biggest claims to fame, Dylan eventually paid tribute to his Guthrie with an ode titled “Song to Woody.”
  • Oprah Winfrey is another household name who knows the value of mentorship, having been counselled by renowned author and poet, Maya Angelou. “She was there for me always, guiding me through some of the most important years of my life,” says Winfrey. “Mentors are important and I don’t think anybody makes it in the world without some form of mentorship.”
  • While Christian Dior and Yves St. Laurent may be rival brands in the fashion world, their founders share a unique relationship. After moving to Paris as a teenager, St. Laurent was taken under Dior’s wing and went on to become a keynote designer at the iconic fashion house. “Dior fascinated me. I couldn’t speak in front of him. He taught me the basis of my art. Whatever was to happen next, I never forgot the years I spent at his side,” recalls St. Laurent.
  • Finally, former Apple Inc. CEO the late Steve Jobs is celebrated as one of the greatest entrepreneurs of all time, and passed on his expertise to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. When Jobs passed away in 2011, Zuckerberg paid his respects by posting: “Steve, thank you for being a mentor and a friend. Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world. I will miss you.”

Teaching is the noble profession, and mentorship categorically falls into this category. So why, as an accomplished executive should you consider becoming a mentor? It’s not always easy, but guiding someone on the path to success goes hand in hand with priceless benefits.

Change lives – As a mentor, you have the power to change a person’s life. This in itself is an inspiring enough reason to become a mentor.

Be mindful of your own actions – Mentorship is not a responsibility to be taken lightly, and for this reason it’s a powerful way to become mindful of your own actions. When your actions directly affect the success of another person, it forces you to question yourself, and strive to become a better individual, and mentor.

Develop a sense of selflessness – As an executive, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the me, me, me cycle. Your goals, your fears, your anxieties… When you take on a mentor it’s an eye opening excuse to transcend your egotism and prioritise the needs of someone else.

Build a stable society – While we’ve referred mostly to corporate mentorship, becoming a social mentor is equally as important. The latest stats measuring the impact of the USA’s Big Brothers Big Sisters program confirm that the impact is enormous, with kids in the initiative 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs, 27% less likely to drink and 52% less likely to skip school than kids not in the program.

Whatever your motives, mentorship is an immensely rewarding endeavour. It’s not all smooth sailing and is an enormous responsibility, but with the right approach mentorship can help you invest not just in others, but also in yourself.


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