Can you still be a good mentor when you retire?
Amazingly that is a question we get asked a lot. Our answer is of course – yes! We are often surprised that a mentor would even question their value just because they are retired. The sad fact is that retirement means that for many organisations and professions a wealth of knowledge and experience walks out of the door along with the retiree.
This of course needn’t be the case; mentoring provides the ideal opportunity for you to share your expertise and pass this onto others in your organisation or profession.
One of the common reasons we hear for feeling uncomfortable with becoming a mentor during retirement is that “I’m retired now so a bit out of touch”. Whilst a retired person may not be keeping themselves completely up to date with the latest legislation or advances in technology, mentoring isn’t about knowing or teaching this type of information. A mentor’s role is to listen, not tell. So, you may be able to signpost a mentee to where to find the latest legislation or information or act as a sounding board in its interpretation, you don’t necessarily need to be versed in the detail of it.
Whilst some mentoring relationships can focus on the development of hard skills such as using the latest technology, more often mentoring is used for the development of soft skills such as people management, negotiation, work life balance. These are the type of skills that no matter how long you have been retired, your input will still be invaluable. For example, juggling work and family life always involves many of the same challenges, so your input will be relevant.
Remember, a mentor’s role isn’t to tell a mentee what to do, it is to act as a guide. A mentor asks questions and draws out the mentee’s thoughts before offering guidance and providing additional options. A mentor challenges, offers a different perspective, another point of view and provides support, you don’t have to currently be in the workforce to be able to do this, but your past experience will be very pertinent in this role.
There are lots of reasons why its good to mentor when you are retired or to have a retired mentor, but here are just a couple:
For mentees who opt for a retired mentor this can be an enormous benefit. Whilst we don’t expect mentors to want to spend endless amounts of their retirement time mentoring others, retired mentors do have the luxury of having more time on their hands to give to a mentee.
From the mentor’s point of view mentoring can provide a nice transition from the workplace into retirement, you can still get involved in helping to work on solving problems and challenges, but without the pressures that may have been evident in your working life.
It is an opportunity to continue to network, and to continue your own learning. In fact, research has shown that 9% of retired individuals are themselves being mentored.
So, you may not have up to the minute technology skills or be familiar with the latest legislation changes, however there will be many other areas where the knowledge and experience you do have is still valuable and relevant.
You have navigated your way up the career ladder, developed leadership, communication, and people skills plus a whole host of other soft skills that many of your younger colleagues would love to be able to share. Having access to someone who has time to impartially discuss their career aspirations and help them to plan how to achieve these is something we have high demand for.
So why not sign up to our mentoring program today.