The Importance of Having a Mentor

by | Aug 12, 2021 | MPS Blog

A mentor-mentee relationship is one in which an experienced person (whether in age or a particular profession) provides guidance and expertise to a less experienced pupil with similar aspirations. Whether you are seeking direction and accelerated development in your personal or professional life, a mentor provides insight into overcoming challenges or seizing opportunities, because they have likely been on a similar path. Acting as a mentor is a very fulfilling role that can dramatically change someone’s life and career! Many successful people attribute much of their success to their mentors, such as Yves Saint-Laurent to Christian Dior, and J. J. Abrams to Steven Spielberg. This is because the mentorship relationship can provide both parties with greater confidence and enhanced leadership skills: 87% of mentors and mentees feel more empowered because of their mentoring relationships.  Mentorship programs are also being adopted by many companies to help benefit employees while increasing productivity and profit!

If you are looking to build your career, a mentorship can be a beneficial relationship that will assist you in achieving your goals by providing constructive advice and keeping you accountable. Because mentorship is a long-term relationship, a good mentor will continuously provide feedback and encourage your improvement. Nearly every business success story can be traced back to the many people that provided guidance along the way – the expectation that individuals need to make it on their own in their career is unrealistic and unproductive! A mentor can expand a mentee’s professional network, help them identify and achieve their goals, and advise them on overcoming obstacles. Having a mentor can help with a rapid improvement in proficiency within your field, which will help boost your confidence in the workplace. Moreover, employees that participate in a mentorship program are significantly more likely to be promoted and to see a salary increase! It can be challenging to consistently hold yourself accountable for your own personal and professional growth – a mentor can encourage you to continue through moments of doubt, and stay motivated to achieve your goals. A mentor may also motivate you to become more ambitious with your goals, by helping you realize what you are capable of achieving!

While you may know what you would want in a mentor, you may not know where to look for one. To start searching, you will want to check off the more obvious possibilities: extended family members, previous or current professors, and more experienced coworkers. If you are connected to someone successful in your field via social media, this is also a promising possibility. Once you have found a potential mentor, it may feel like an intimidating task to ask them for their mentorship. It is quite important that you know this person on a somewhat personal level, to increase the likelihood of them saying yes, as well as being sure that they would be an effective mentor for you. To get to this point, either seek a mentor that you are already familiar with or schedule a friendly meeting prior to the mention of mentorship if the person is unfamiliar to you. When you ask them to invest their time in you as a mentor, be sure to explain why you are seeking a mentor, as well as why you would trust them specifically in that relationship. Be clear about the specific guidance you are seeking, and to what end. This process may take some time, but that is because this is an investment into your future that could potentially be career-altering!

If you are in the position to serve as a mentor, this can be a powerful and rewarding role. Mentoring is essentially an investment in the future workforce, but it also comes with several personal benefits. As a mentor, you will inevitably develop your leadership skills as you will have to advise on your mentee’s decisions and practice patience as they build confidence in themselves. This leadership practice will likely be reflected in your career gains: people who act as mentors are 6 times more likely to be promoted than those who don’t. If your mentee is younger than you, you will also be given insight into the younger generation’s perspectives and ideas – you can gain powerful insight and potentially expand your network while learning something from them too! Ultimately, one of the greatest benefits that a mentor gains is a sense of contribution and fulfillment. You have the power to change the entire trajectory of someone’s career by providing invaluable guidance, which is what makes mentorship hugely rewarding. You will also be reflecting on what has gotten you to where you are so that you can continue to develop these skills.

Successful businesses have undoubtedly recognized the value of mentorship relationships: over 71% of Fortune 500 companies now have mentorship programs. In promoting individual growth by connecting staff with mentors, companies can instigate a cycle of continuous growth that positively impacts the bottom line while improving company culture. This starts with the improvement of the employees’ confidence, productivity, and proficiency in the workplace, which leads them to feel that their personal and professional growth is being invested and makes them more likely to feel fulfilled, which translates to lower turnover rates and potentially massive savings for the business.  Studies show that, on the low scale, turnover can cost a company one and a half to two times the employee’s annual salary, not to mention the strain it puts on other employees and the impact on company culture.

Encouraging mentorship reaps positive benefits for everyone within the workplace and promotes a comfortable and connected environment. 89% of mentees will go on to become mentors themselves, and this also establishes a culture of learning and growth. Because of its positive effects, companies like Chronus and Together have developed their own mentorship software to make the process easier for business owners. A greater prevalence of mentorship programs in the workplace could have a dramatic effect on business environments, employee satisfaction, and overall productivity. These measurable changes within workplaces are a great reflection of the power that mentorship can have!

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