Why mentoring is a winning trifecta

8 September 2017

The concept of mentoring pops up on a regular basis in business circles but what’s the big deal and how can it benefit you and your business?

Mentoring 101

Mentoring has actually been around for a while. Hark back to your school days – specifically Greek mythology where Mentor was an advisor and friend to Odysseus. In the modern day workplace, it’s viewed as a structured way of furthering professional development.

How do I benefit from being mentored?

Mentees, that’s the person being mentored, can benefit in a number of ways:

  • Development of skills and expertise
  • Increased confidence around skills and expertise
  • Greater clarity around career direction and progression
  • Setting and achieving goals
  • More in-depth understanding of the business
  • An independent perspective
  • An advocate

“…a role model in the flesh provides more than an inspiration; his or her very existence is confirmation of possibilities one may have every reason to doubt, saying, ‘Yes, someone like me can do this.’” Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic and third woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court

What’s in it for the mentor?

The benefits of a mentoring relationship go two ways. Mentors can gain value in the following ways:

  • The feel good factor – There’s great satisfaction to be had in helping someone to flourish. Author Cyndi O’Meara said  “I love to share my knowledge in order to help people succeed in life – it’s been my life’s work.” Read more at Business Insider.
  • Gaining fresh insight - At times, your mentee will become the teacher, showing you new ways of doing business and professional development
  • Development of leadership skills
  • Increased employee retention – Columbia University’s Professor Jonah Rockoff has said that employees who receive specialised attention and training from a mentor, perform better and are more likely to stay in the workplace
  • Development of skills and expertise within the business

What’s the bottom line for the business?

Mentoring is good for more than the individuals involved. 71% of Fortune 500 companies offer mentoring programs to their employees – if that alone doesn’t convince you that it’s worth looking into, the benefits your business could reap may include:

  • Reducing turnover – hiring and training new employees is an expensive process. Mentoring encourages professional development and progression within your business, plus it can also be an attractive value add for potential employees
  • Creating future leaders – succession planning is vital to the longevity of any business. By fostering knowledge transfer and skills internally, you’re able to develop leaders with skills and expertise tailored to your unique business needs. It also saves time and effort in needing to recruit externally
  • Greater efficiencies – mentees have a designated ‘go to’ person for questions, feedback and advice for a quick resolution or answer 

Mentoring makes sense, from both a personal perspective and that of a business. Putting a structured program in place is a winning trifecta for mentees, mentors and businesses.