Career Center Blog

January 6, 2014

To get ahead, help develop others' careers


January is National Mentoring Month. While I've written about the importance of using mentors throughout your career and ways to find them, in this post I'm focusing on another aspect: mentoring others.

Did you know that developing other people can also positively impact your career? According to a 2012 study led by nonprofit organization Catalyst, paying it forward by being a career mentor to others has positive benefits. "It benefits not only proteges but leads to career advancement and compensation growth for those providing the assistance -- $25,075 in additional compensation between 2008 and 2010," the study says.

How? "It may be that developing other talent creates more visibility and a following within the organization for the high potentials who are doing the developing, which leads to greater reward and recognition for the extra effort," state the study authors.

Results of the research provided additional information when it comes to mentoring others.

If others have helped you develop during your career, you're more likely to give back by developing others. About three in five employees who received developmental support (59 percent) did so for others.

Sponsorship counts when it comes to paying it forward. Two-thirds of high potentials who were sponsored (66 percent) -- those who had someone with power and influence open doors of opportunity and advocate to help them obtain projects and assignments that enhance their visibility and position -- were developing others.

People in higher-level positions are more likely to develop others. Sixty-four percent of high potentials at the senior executive/CEO level were developing others, compared with 30 percent of those at the individual contributor level.

The study also busted the "queen bee" myth -- the belief that women tend not to help other women when it comes to career advancement. The research results demonstrate that not only are high-potential women developing others, but compared with their male counterparts, women were actually more likely to be developing other women.

This year, make it a goal to mentor someone. Use your knowledge, career experience and understanding of your company and industry to develop others. Not only will it help your company build a strong talent pipeline, but your investment in mentoring others will also help your own career -- because paying it forward can actually pay you back.

Lisa Quast is the founder of Career Woman, Inc., a career-coaching and business-consulting company. Email her at

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Karen Burns Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.

Lisa Quast Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.

Randy Woods Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.

Former contributors

Kristen Fife is a senior recruiter, career mentor, blogger and resume consultant.

Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.

Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.

Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."


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