The Importance of a Mentor

Many successful business ventures are the product of past trial and error, evaluating the success and failures of pre-existing companies and learning from the mistakes of others in the industry. Some of the most successful young professionals credit their career success and confidence to the presence of a mentor. Depending on the case, this can be a parent, family friend or a seasoned professional in your company or field. Forward-thinking companies are increasingly discovering the importance of mentorship programs for new employees. The use of a mentor may be an informal, short-term arrangement or a more formal, long-term role. The relationship of a mentor can be a rewarding experience for the mentor and a learning experience for the mentee. Here’s why:

Benefits to Being a Mentor:

The development of leadership skills
Being a mentor is like being a teacher. Instead of following the examples and advice of others, you are now challenging yourself as the one setting the examples and offering the advice.

Personal satisfaction
Personal fulfillment will come from the rewards associated with knowing that your relationships and resulting tools and advice offered are making a difference to a young member of the workforce, to a company, and to the economy in general.

Increased sense of value in your company or field
You will gain an increased sense of professional value in knowing that you have arrived at the point of your career where you are viewed as a seasoned “expert” in your profession and that young members of the workforce are looking to you for wisdom. 

Reverse mentoring: From the bottom up
With ever changing-technology and trends in business, your younger mentee may enlighten you on new industry trends and skill sets required to maintain a competitive advantage in your field.

Benefits to Being a Mentee:

Increased Confidence
You may feel as though you have an advantage to your co-workers or fellow job candidates in that you can call on your mentor for help anytime should you need it. Confidence will also come in knowing that you have the tools and guidance from someone who has been there and done that – information more valuable and practical than any textbook can provide.

Increased Productivity
A mentor will help you set goals and stay accountable to them. An effective mentor knows how to devise a plan of attack to achieve what you want most, whether it is financial gain, influence, a promotion or freedom. He or she has been in your position, made mistakes and learned tricks of the trade along the way. A mentor can pass their valuable information to you so you don’t make the same mistakes (and waste time in the process).

Increased motivation
The personal successes of a mentor and resulting influence and standard of living will provide motivation by the mentee to reach similar levels of success. Furthermore, a mentor provides the sometimes-needed feedback that is not always available from busy bosses, including words of encouragement and praise as well as constructive criticism.

Development of your professional network
As a seasoned businessperson, your mentor will have likely developed an extensive network of other like-minded professionals and can offer access to senior decision-makers without the awkward and sometimes intimidating self introductions.

Benefits to Companies of Mentorship Programs:

Helps employees settle into their job and company environment
A designated mentor helps with the integration of the new hire into the company. A new employee will receive personal attention from a seasoned professional of whom they are encouraged to ask questions and learn first hand of your corporate culture. The relationship formed may therefore improve morale and loyalty to the company.

Contributes to a lower turnover rate
A mentor will offer the inside scoop on what it takes to become a leader and gain influence in the company. Subsequently, employees will be willing to take on more challenges, leading to increased job satisfaction and growth, which will be met with well-received raises and promotions.

Produces leaders
If someone mentored an employee, he or she will be more likely to assume the role of a mentor themselves one day to pass along the knowledge they learned, and for the benefits outlined above.