In research, PIs often have the opportunity to mentor postdocs and PhDs in their lab; however, postdocs and PhD students can also look for opportunities to be mentors. Being a mentor requires an interest in helping others, knowledge about the area for which you would like to be a mentor, and a willingness to learn.
Some may make a great mentor in the lab. Some may be great at teaching others about writing their manuscript. Still, some may be able to help their peers learn how to deliver better presentations about their research. If interested and willing, postdocs and PhD students can look for and find ways to be mentors too.
Benefits of Mentoring in Research
Sharing one’s expertise and offering guidance has great value, especially for those receiving this information. However, the mentee is usually not the only one who gains from a mentor-mentee relationship. Mentoring offers benefits to the mentor as well. Here are just a few.
1. Mentoring helps you hone your skills and knowledge
When teaching others, we usually want to make sure that we provide the most accurate and up-to-date information and instructions. By doing this, we end up preparing and learning more, and when we show people how to do something, we practice more often. In addition to helping others grow, all of the preparation and practice helps mentors grow as well.
2. Mentoring increases your confidence
Not only does increasing your skills cause your confidence to grow, but when other people begin to view you as a person that is knowledgeable about a particular area, your belief about your own ability will increase as well. The more opportunities you have to share your knowledge and provide guidance, the more your confidence will increase.
3. Mentoring helps build your credibility
Mentoring allows people to demonstrate their expertise, and when someone excels at or is knowledgeable about something, people notice. However, if you are also sharing your talents through mentoring, you have the opportunity for your impact to be more substantial than if you weren’t investing in others.