12 Most Life-Changing Aspects of Mentoring

12 Most Life-Changing Aspects of Mentoring

Being a mentor is like making an investment in another person’s life that has sure returns. The emotional, practical and wide-ranging endowments of mentoring create a lasting legacy.

And the best part is that mentoring doesn’t just bestow gifts upon the novice, but also on the older, wiser leader.

1. What it stops

Research shows that programs offering young people formal one-to-one mentoring relationships reduce teen delinquency, substance use and academic failure. The National Mentoring Partnership has links to many studies.

2. What it stops, part II

Productive, effective mentoring programs can lessen bullying.

3. What it starts

Youth mentoring programs lead to a range of positive outcomes in the students’ lives, including improved self-esteem, social skills and awareness of career and training opportunities.

4. It can be targeted to very specific groups

Children, whose parents have been incarcerated, face much higher risks than other kids for feelings of shame, abandonment, depression and anger and other detrimental psychological and physical impacts. The children of prisoners are also significantly more likely to become entangled with the criminal justice system than their peers.
While they’re still relatively new and small, a few mentoring programs have been created to serve this vulnerable target population.
Other programs are aimed at immigrants or teen mothers, for example.

5. It increases trust

The bond that forms between a young person and a mentor becomes a conduit for knowledge and guidance. But it also, even more importantly, offers a living, breathing example of trust. A caring adult is modeling, for the student, what trust is and does — and what it isn’t and doesn’t do.

6. It improves relationships

Close connection to a mentor can lead to an improvement in a young person’s relationships with others, including their own parents. That’s a priceless payback.

7. It creates positive feelings for mentors

Mentors overwhelmingly report positive outcomes from the experience. And most, in surveys, report that they would recommend that others mentor.

8. It improves mentors’ skills with communication and empowering

Data has shown that, through mentoring, adults gained skills, too. How cool is that!

9. It leads to higher self-efficacy

Both mentors and youth in successful one-on-one programs indicate the experience and relationship has created or deepened the sense that they can be productive and effective and can achieve more, as a result of the mentoring.

10. It can work in many places

Mentoring can occur in a wide range of quality, structured activities out of school time, such as in libraries, rec centers or even skateboard parks.

11. It helps young people become civically engaged

Opportunities for students and caring adults to work together through community activities can make life-long impressions about the value of civic engagement. Young people learn they can get involved with the school board, city council or an issue that affects their community, guided by grownups who demonstrate the value of being connected and active in the community.

12. It makes a profound, permanent impact

Effective, productive mentor programs change and improve lives. For good.

I teach and mentor senior high students at my church. They teach me as much as I teach them.

What about you? I’d love to hear about your experience with mentoring or being mentored.

Featured image courtesy of tanakawho licensed via Creative Commons.

Becky Gaylord


Becky worked as a reporter for more than 15 years in Washington, D.C.; Sydney, Australia; and Cleveland, Ohio for major publications including the New York Times, Salon.com, Business Week, the Wall Street Journal, and was Associate Editor of the Plain Dealer's Editorial Page before she launched the consulting practice, Gaylord LLC. The company helps clients improve their external relations and communication and increase their influence and impact. Becky blogs about that (a few other things) at Framing What Works.

468 ad

Thanks, Martin. Great observations. And I totally agree. 


I would also add that on both sides of the mentor/mentee relationship it shows that 'paying it forward' is a state of mind and that everyone can help everyone else out.

As a former Prince of Wales Trust mentor in the UK, I would also add that it helps us reflect on what we do ourselves, adding inbound value to our activities.