As a general rule, we think of mentorship as being most valuable to the mentee; after all, it’s a more personal and intimate tool that can be used to move forward in pretty much any industry, business, or new skill set. It offers a way to learn not only from someone else’s success, but also from their failures. Starting something new — while exciting and invigorating — can also be really overwhelming, especially when we aren’t entirely sure of the next step. But when we choose to walk a path forward, it can often be helpful to choose a path that has already been walked.

That being said, mentorship isn’t just about growth for the mentee. Being a mentor to others can also help us grow as leaders and as humans.

I read an article recently that stated we learn best by teaching others what we know, as it forces us to dig deep and revisit our knowledge base (which might otherwise be neglected over the years). As I read through those thoughts, I caught myself reflecting on my own time as a mentor, and sure enough, I came to realize that the more I shared my skills, the better I came to understand them. The more I taught that knowledge, the more it was reinforced in my mind.

The Benefits of Mentorship

The reality is that no one reaches their goals alone. And whether we realize it or not, someone likely helped us along the way. Maybe we didn’t intentionally seek out the guidance of a peer or mentor, but we recognized that we had to find our way somehow — and that path was forged by someone who went before us.

A previous client of mine once shared that the most valuable thing he could do as a leader was constantly remind himself that he didn’t always know what he knows right now and that he didn’t always stand where he stands right now. Learning how to be a mentor was one of the best ways for him to remember to never take his position or knowledge for granted while also supporting others in building their own knowledge base and future pursuits.

For all its value, however, mentorship does come with a price tag: time. And though personal connection is always a worthwhile investment, it can often mean limiting your mentorship to a select number of individuals.

But what happens when you want to reach further? What happens when you recognize that the road you’ve walked has the potential to lead the way for many? What happens when you want to leave a broader legacy? You write a book!

How to Be a Great Mentor by Writing a Book

Of all the leadership tools I’ve used during my time in business, few have been more successful at creating an impact than writing a book. Take the brilliant Kari Warberg Block as an example. She is the CEO and founder of EarthKind, a North Carolina company that received the first-ever patent for no-kill pest control. And though Kari is currently an industry leader and a huge advocate for women in business, she too didn’t always know what she knows now and didn’t always stand where she stands now.

For a long time, Kari was a farm girl trying to find an easier way for her and her family to live. Pitted against many of life’s odds, she intentionally sought out the guidance of those she trusted. Ultimately, she took that constant stream of feedback and turned it into a legacy that has not only changed the environmental landscape of pest control, but has also carved out space for women in an industry that has historically resisted their presence and leadership.

One of Kari’s great passions as a leader is to give back to the community that gave so much to her. For Kari, this means extending a hand to those who are just starting out in business. And though she still makes time to sit across the table from budding entrepreneurs as often as possible, she knew that writing a mentorship book would provide her the opportunity to offer leadership to those with whom she couldn’t have in-person conversations. In the pages of her book, “Gathering Around the Table: A Story of Purpose-Driven Change through Business,” she has poured out all of her experiences, lessons, and challenges with the hope that another young person will read her words and believe that all of their dreams are also possible.

What to Know Before Writing a Mentorship Book

Understanding how to be a great mentor is not a science. Although there are tactile elements to it, mentorship is about moving through experience, and that is not necessarily a linear journey. Everyone’s pace is different. Everyone’s needs are different. This is where a mentorship book comes in handy, because it can become a mentee’s own personal guide to use on their terms when they need it most.

If you’re getting started with writing a book about the well of knowledge you’ve collected through your leadership experience, you might want to consider a couple of steps:

1. Gather the information. One of your first priorities will be to collate your experiences in some manner before bringing them to life. One option is to keep a journal or digital document that tracks all the questions you tend to receive in regard to your role. There’s a strong likelihood that if one person asks you that question, many others have thought it. Take note of what comes up again and again so you can expand on those areas that seem to be of the highest interest.

It’s also worthwhile to take special notice of who is asking you questions. Narrowing down the type of people the majority of your questions come from helps you better understand who you’re writing for.

2. Ask your own questions. Given that you won’t be able to sit across from all your readers and hear their specific questions, it’s good to cover as much ground as possible. A great way to do this is to chat with your peers and ask them about their own experiences as they moved through their careers. Was there something that would have made their pursuit a little easier? Take some time to ask yourself the same question. Now that you’ve had the chance to look back, what would you have liked to know in the past? All of these questions matter, and all of them will serve someone moving forward.

3. Uncover the story within your story. When Kari first started to work on her book, she believed she was writing a “how-to” on becoming an entrepreneur. What she ended up writing, however, was a beautiful, poetic journey about the joys and trials of being human — and how her natural passion for the environment led her to become the leader she is today.

We often think that our mentorship story is about the ins and outs of business. But more often than not, there is a deeper drive and more personal connection to the world we live in. It’s this connection that resonates with readers and creates a trusting relationship through the pages of a book. Don’t just share your professional advice — share yourself. And if you aren’t entirely sure what that story might look like, you can hire a storytelling company to help you uncover all the hidden pieces that make up your incredible journey. I promise you there’s one that’s right for you.

In a world that often tends to feed off the idea that there isn’t enough to go around, it’s a truly courageous act to openly hand over our secrets to success. To share our platform and invite others to rise makes the whole better through the simple act of making the individual parts better. Remembering that you didn’t always know what you know or stand where you stand creates humility and generosity, creating space for other people to find their own passion and brilliance in this fiercely competitive world.

Writing a book about your knowledge tells the world that you believe there is enough sand in the playground for everyone and that together, we can make our businesses, our communities, and our world a better place.

Author's Bio: 

Genevieve Georget is an executive editor at Round Table Companies, the publisher of Conscious Capitalism Press. She is a full-time storyteller whose work as a writer and photographer has been seen on, The Good Mother Project, Love in the Rockies, Wedding Bells Magazine, the Huffington Post, and among her online community of 35,000 people. Genevieve’s first book, “Her Own Wild Winds,” was published in September 2016, and her second book, “Solace,” was released in the fall of 2019.