Posted 4/10/2010 Updated 7/11/2010
Commentary by SMSgt Aaron Rainer
4/10/2010 - Memphis ANG Base, Tennessee -- When many of us started our military careers, we were very young and inexperienced yet eager to do a good job. We were willing to invest the time in learning more about the Air Force and looking forward to increased responsibility and promotion. It was not easy achieving our career goals. But when we look back years later and see the progress we've made, we will remember someone along our journey that we can give a good deal of credit to for our success. The person often acted as a Mentor, coach or facilitator that made navigating through the maze on the way to our career goals a little easier.
What is a Mentor exactly? A Mentor can be defined in many ways but in simple terms it's: A wise and trusted counselor, teacher or coach who can advise another on the pathway to their personal or professional goals.
In order to be considered a mentor, there must be a mentee. A mentee is one who is being mentored to or a protégé. Extensive research has been done on the positive impact mentoring can have on individuals who are involved in such relationships. Mentoring relationships have been identified as one of the most important factors in career success. Good mentoring relationships provide support to future leaders in many ways and can enhance the career success for both people involved. Mentees can gain access to greater networks, develop skills, and increase self confidence. Mentors can benefit by practicing and developing their counseling and listening skills, leading to greater self development. Additionally, both mentors and mentees can achieve recognition and often express higher levels of job satisfaction.
Value of mentoring for mentors:
Transference of expertise
Opportunities to translate values and strategies into actions
Gain further insights/alternative perspectives about the organization as a whole
Gain insights into other areas of the organization
Additional investment of time/expertise for the future benefit of the organization
Increased influence on the organization's mission and goals
Value of mentoring for mentees:
Expansion of personal network
Sounding board for ideas/plans
Increased self awareness and discipline
Potential to accelerate development and growth
Positive and constructive feedback on personal and professional development issues
Value of mentoring for the Organization:
Strengthens organizational culture
Positively impacts retention
Leverages talent across organization
Increases "workplace satisfaction" of individuals involved in mentoring
Uncovers latent talent
Increases communication within the organization
Being a mentor is a volunteer opportunity. Whether you are an Air Force Officer or Senior Enlisted person, you'll find that mentoring can be one of the most satisfying and rewarding experiences you can have.
All it takes to become a mentor is a caring nature, commitment, responsibility, and good listening skills. Mentors should be able to assist mentees in mastering additional skills and/or gaining knowledge or abilities in specific areas, thereby enhancing the mentees' prospects for success.
Remember, mentoring not only helps the mentee, but it gives the mentor valuable experience too. Volunteering as a mentor requires a commitment of time and energy, but it is often a new and interesting experience with the added benefit of helping others.
If you are interested in becoming a mentor or mentee at the 164th AW, please contact your Human Resource Advisor, SMSgt Aaron Rainer at 901-291-7439 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
SMSgt Aaron Rainer
164th Airlift Wing
Memphis, TN 38118