How did you get to where you are now?
When you think back over your career, was there someone whose support or advice made a difference? Did you have a go to person whose advice you valued – someone who took an interest in your career?
If so, then it’s likely that you benefitted from the support of a mentor. Most likely, you experienced informal mentoring – perhaps from a more senior colleague or even from a teacher or relative.
Research data indicates that mentoring positively impacts on career development, job satisfaction, employee engagement and retention – and not just for mentees. Mentors also experience significant benefits from connecting and collaborating with more junior colleagues, outside of normal work structures.
Modern employers have started to tap into the benefits of mentoring by introducing formalised mentoring programmes. Having a formal programme, where mentors and mentees are selected and matched ensures that the benefits of mentoring are available more widely in the organisation.
Is Mentoring for You?
Mentoring opportunities could be highly rewarding if you are either
• An ambitious person, who wants to navigate your way to success and fulfilment in your professional life
• An experienced person who has experienced the ups and downs of professional life and learned a few things along the way.
How Does It Work?
In a formal mentoring programme, participants receive training to support them in their role as a mentee or a mentor. They benefit from structured supports, regular review meetings and mentor/mentee events. Essentially, the core of mentoring is the one to one time devoted by both mentee and mentor. This applies equally in formal and informal mentoring situations.
The key, for both mentor and mentee, is to use the time wisely. Creating an overall agenda at the outset, really helps to maintain focus and maximise the impact of mentoring. The mentoring agenda is based solely on what the mentee wants to achieve from mentoring. Confidentiality arrangements and clear boundaries need to be agreed at the start, so that everyone feels comfortable sharing their thoughts and experiences in an informal way. Typical agenda items are setting and achieving career goals; building profile and brand in the organisation; setting and achieving developmental goals, handling tricky situations or working towards promotion. Whatever the agenda, the mentor’s role extends only to advice, support and occasional feedback. It is not the mentor’s job to sort out problems or achieve goals!
Could you mentor? Check out the must have qualities in the panel below:
8 Must Have Qualities for Mentors:
• Rapport building skills
• Active listening Skills
An effective mentoring relationship benefits both the mentee and the mentor in different ways.
Benefits for Mentors:
Becoming a mentor represents the final act of career mastery – developing the ability to support someone else as they develop their own career path, drawing from your own experience.
Mentors report a renewed sense of purpose and a sense of satisfaction from supporting a more junior colleague. Effective mentors take opportunities to master new skills in critically important areas for their own development – for example; emotional intelligence, active listening and leadership.
Mentors are often surprised by how much they can learn from their mentees, particularly from seeing the world of work through their eyes. Insights from mentoring can inform how experienced leaders approach issues in their own work life – in relation to handling client relationship issues and managing people, for example. Above all, mentoring is a uniquely rewarding opportunity to engage on a one to one basis with someone whose background, life experience and perspective may be quite different from your own.
Benefits for Mentees:
The key objective of mentoring is to establish a partnership, where the mentee feels supported. A good mentor encourages the mentee to name their aspirations and challenges and to use the time together to tease these out with their mentor.
A positive mentoring relationship develops over time. When trust and rapport grow, mentors become valued advisers and role models. They can guide and support mentees by listening, empathising and by offering suggestions, advice, technical or business knowledge and most importantly, the benefit of their own experience.
Mentees often report that getting insights into how more senior people think is one of the most useful takeaways from mentoring. Being mentored by someone senior, helps people to feel valued and connected with their organisation. It feels like they have someone in their corner. Mentees report increased confidence and focus from mentoring. They value practical advice on issues they are facing ranging from professional and technical matters to interpersonal and /or client relationship matters. Of course, mentees are not bound to take the advice offered by mentors. Often, the most powerful thing is to be able to talk things through with someone who gets it.
Could Mentoring Work for You?
Check out the panel below to see if mentoring is a fit for your needs:
What Qualities Do You Need to be a Mentee?
• Committed to career development
• Able to trust and be candid with the mentor
• Sets objectives for the mentoring process
• Values the commitment of the mentor
• Maintains confidentiality
• Can manage self and expectations
• Can manage upwards
Thinking of mentoring for your organisation? Get in touch. We’d be happy to share our experiences with you.