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3
Jun

Spring Into Action: Engaging In Mentorship Benefits People of All Ages

According to Mentor Colorado, “research confirms that quality mentoring relationships have positive positive effects on young people in a variety of personal, academic, and professional situations.”

For those who act as mentors, mentorship provides a sense of purpose in life and connection to community and boosts your happiness, self-esteem, health, and sense of well-being. For those who are looking for a mentor, you can find support for connection, understanding, reaching goals, and much more. There is much to be benefitted by being in a mentorship. 

Connecting with people in your community, friend circles, workplaces, and partnerships is a way to build self-esteem. Often, the types of relationships you seek are reflective of what you think you deserve. It isn’t always easy to look at patterns and why you continue them, but mentoring relationships are a tool that can help you navigate your own self-worth. Whether you are the mentor, mentee, or both; the payoff is worth the effort. 

Some benefits of engaging in a mentor relationship include:

  • Exposure to fresh ideas and perspectives. New perspectives can be gained whether you are a mentor, mentee or both! This can also lead to increased creativity and productivity.
  • Opportunity to reflect on your own goals and practices. Whether you are a mentor or mentee, reflection on what’s important to you will naturally occur and the relationship you’ve developed can help you with accountability and encouragement to shift your goals, re-assess what’s important to you, or get back on track.
  • Increased self-esteem. When we are able to share our value and experience with others, we naturally, feel higher esteem. When you accept the support of others, like a mentor, and know you don’t have to figure things out on our own, your feeling of being able to do things increases and with that, your self-esteem also increases.
  • Improved mental health. When we help or support others or feel helped and supported ourselves, our mood, energy and overall sense of well-being increase.
  • Gratitude. The experience of feeling and receiving support from a mentor or the support you are able to give a mentee builds and sustains feelings of gratitude.
  • Connection. Connection to others and something greater than yourself can help to reduce anxiety, depression, loneliness, and other mental health issues. As humans, we function best when we have healthy, supportive relationships.

For adolescents and young adults, having a healthy mentor relationship with a caring adult, is research-based to help reduce depression and risk-taking behaviors, like substance abuse. For adults and people of all ages, having a supportive mentor relationship can support growth in recovery, career goals, spirituality, healthy relationships, identity and more.

What are the types of mentorships?

Not all mentoring relationships look the same, but all of them are equally beneficial, depending on what matches your needs most. Though it is not an exhaustive list, four examples include:

Traditional: This type of mentorship happens when there is one mentee and one mentor. It doesn’t mean that only the mentor teaches the mentee. Often, the mentor learns as much if not more from the mentee. It can be a formal placement through a company like Mentor Colorado (for youth connections) and Energize Colorado (for business support) or organization as well as an informal process with two people. Sometimes, this can develop when you bravely approach someone in your workplace or community who you admire. 

Distance: You don’t have to be in the same state or country for a mentorship to work. With the help of FaceTime, Zoom, etc., you can forge and maintain friendships around the world. Consistency is key with these types of mentorships and can include meeting at the same time each week, centering your work around the same book, or identifying if you have similar outcomes. Many of us are familiar with the tools that help us connect internationally, but if you aren’t, you can build your skills with internet research or asking people you know well so that you can navigate technology safely. 

Group: This is an opportunity where a single mentor is matched with a cohort of mentees. It is popular in work and school spheres so that mentees feel like they have connection beyond themselves. A mentor in a workplace has skills that are likely valued, so it is helpful to get feedback from them as well as form relationships with other mentees for support. 

Peer-to-Peer: This type of mentorship is between people with similar ages and interests as you. If you want to help people through organizations like Habit for Humanity and Sources of Strength, there will likely be people your age-level who want the same outcomes. With peer-to-peer mentoring, you are both interested in the same type of leadership, and this is where informal mentorships are likely to form. 

How do mentorships work?

Normally, successful mentorships go through four phases including preparation, negotiating, encouraging growth, and closure. The finish is as important as the start in mentorship so that both parties can practice clean closure.

Think about what you are seeking in a mentorship and your needs from the beginning. Every mentor-mentee relationship is different and if you enter a mentorship through a mentor program, information on how mentorships work for that organization can be found with them directly.

Other things to consider when seeking a mentorship in a less-formal manner is being clear with what your needs are and what you’d like to gain from the relationship. It is also important to be clear with what you can give to the relationship. Healthy boundaries are important in all relationships and that includes mentor relationships as well. 

What if I am a teen and want to mentor?

It’s not too early to start mentorship. You can learn from your peers and they can learn from you. Having peer supportincreases a your connection to others, and can help you feel not so alone. When you are able to provide support to another youth, you not only provide hope and connection to that youth, you also experience an increase in feel-good emotions yourself. You can learn from each other and grow in your relationships because of what you learn through the mentoring process. Colorado high school students can check out one of the many awesome mentor programs in our state, One option for those local to the Denver Metro is Colorado Young Leaders (among many others). The non-profit encourages peer-to-peer support and gives the opportunity to develop leadership skills.

How can I connect through mentorship as a mentor, mentee, or both?

There are ample opportunities for mentorship throughout your communities. If you want to commit to a community-based mentorship, Big Brother, Big Sister is a well-known local and national organization that models successful relationships through mentoring. They have a rigorous application process so that you can feel comfortable and safe. Other organizations local to Colorado are Mentor Colorado and Energize Colorado. All three are continuously seeking individuals who want to practice leadership and learning: 

Another way to seek mentorship is through your workplace. Several companies have developed built-in mentorships through their onboarding processes. They pair you with individuals who are successfully meeting requirements and can help you grow. If this isn’t available at your workplace, create it!

You have the power to lead people as much as anyone else. If you wish to have a more informal structure, you can chat with individuals through informational interviews. This means that you aren’t going into the meeting with the expectation of being hired, but you are allowing yourself the opportunity to learn more. 

What if I need mentoring with my recovery for addiction or mental illness?

Sponsorship is one of the most special mentorships that can happen between two individuals. 12-step programs are filled with opportunities to serve and connect with people who are impacted by diseases. Whether you identify as an alcoholic, narcotics addict, codependent, overeater, sex addict, or child of an alcoholic; there is program that can help you. There is support available for teens as well through AlaTeen. A starting point is in the rooms of recovery. You get to choose what to take and leave the rest.  

For mental health, there are several support groups available in communities in and outside Colorado. The Colorado Mental Wellness Program and Colorado Crisis Services both offer trainings for mentorships and provide peer support for those who struggle with mental illness

Giving and receiving support from others enhances a sense of community and belonging which can be helpful in reducing anxiety, depression, and helps in managing stress, physical and emotional pain, and loss that comes as part of living. It makes suffering less sufferable and supports purpose with and beyond ourselves.

If you are engaged in therapy for anxiety, depression, substance abuse, ADHD, trauma, bipolar disorder, grief, body image struggles or anything else, engaging in a mentorship can be a great additional way to aid in your healing and recovery.

Mentorship can be beneficial to both mentor’s and mentee’s mental, emotional and physical health. If you think mentorship might be beneficial to you, we encourage you to check out the resources we have provided and even research more options available to you in your community.  

Mentorship is a healthy way to connect and grow with the support of people who care about you. 

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Written by: Randi Thackeray, MA
Clinically Reviewed and Edited by: Julie Reichenberger, MA, LPC, ACS, ACC


Denver Metro Counseling is a group of clinicians who provide therapeutic support for teens, adults, parents, and families. We provide supportive therapy for people struggling with anxiety, depression, substance abuse, ADHD, negative body image, and more
Denver Metro Counseling

Our Clinician’s Bios:
Audrey Bristol, LSW
Molly Ward, LCSW
Karan Steuart, LCSW, LAC
Julie Reichenberger, MA, LPC, ACC, ACS

Follow Denver Metro Counseling on Facebook: Denver Metro Counseling and Instagram: @denvermetrocounseling for other helpful information.