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There are countless benefits to being and having a mentor, and you'd be hard-pressed to find someone in the travel industry who hasn't been impacted by mentorship in some way. By building this relationship, both mentor and mentee benefit from lifelong learning, an expansion of their professional networks and the development of more fulfilling careers.

Knowing these benefits and the amount of new people joining the travel workforce, it may be worth pondering if it's time to find a mentor or if you're ready to become one yourself.

GROWTH AND KNOWLEDGE
Mentorship can help those with less experience focus their efforts on the most rewarding aspects of their career and provide practical knowledge, training and quality assurance that drive productivity. From their own experience, mentors can share valuable insights and background information that help mentees experience increased success. By sharing something as simple as a keyboard shortcut or guidance on how to best present a project, mentors can help newcomers acclimate and build confidence.

GOAL-SETTING AND ACCOUNTABILITY
A mentor's objective view and career experience are great tools for setting qualified goals, making it easier for mentees to focus their efforts and measure progress. Mentors can also provide follow up and accountability, helping the mentee avoid distractions and keep their mind on the goals they've set and their desired career path.

CONNECTED CHEERLEADERS AND TRUSTED ALLIES
When facing difficult challenges or career roadblocks, mentors can offer support and encouragement by reminding the mentee of their strengths, bolstering confidence and providing the motivation needed to continue onward. Mentors also typically have more industry experience and a sizeable professional network, allowing them to make introductions to new opportunities and individuals. The best mentors have mentees' best interests in mind and provide honest, accurate and prudent guidance, along with confidentiality and trust.

CONSTRUCTIVE FEEDBACK AND ROLE MODELS
Establishing a trusting relationship paves the way for honest feedback and constructive criticism, which is more palatable when recognized as insight for professional growth. Mentors can also help set a standard for professional expectations, perhaps helping define proper workplace behavior, attire, etc. These examples can help mentees establish productive work habits, which enables focus and improved job performance.

Why Should I Be a Mentor?
Being a mentor can be incredibly fulfilling for a variety of reasons. In addition to building better interpersonal skills such as active listening, patience and empathy, mentors also enjoy practicing lifelong learning by refreshing their own skills that may not get used as often. And while mentors don't take on a mentee for the purpose of recognition, it's an opportunity for others to recognize a mentor's leadership skills and the valuable insight they possess.

Remember: Mentorship is a two-way street. Both mentor and mentee can offer each other fresh ideas and different perspectives.

Trying to Find a Mentor?
Mentorship most often occurs through networking and company or industry programs. Find mentors by getting involved in industry organizations and events, and volunteering where and when you can. Put yourself out there, stay curious and ask questions! Pinpoint someone you admire or aspire to be like and reach out. See if they're available to chat over coffee or are open to taking on a mentee. Share why you chose to reach out to them and what your goals are.

Mentorship doesn't have to come with a financial burden, a common barrier to professional development for many. Mentors share their time and insight because they're interested in helping others grow and are enthusiastic about establishing more authentic personal connections.

Take Mentorship to the Next Level with Sponsorship
While similar to mentorship in that it's also a professional relationship, sponsorship takes things a step further by going beyond offering advice. Often born out of a successful mentor-mentee relationship, sponsorship offers someone an actual seat at the table, with their sponsor advocating for them and their abilities in situations which can directly help advance their career and credibility.

Written by Stephen Ekstrom, Chief Strategist at The Tourism Academy, and Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor of Groups Today.

This article originally appeared in the Jul/Aug '22 issue of Groups Today.

 

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