Mentoring is a partnership for sharing knowledge, skills and/or experience for the purposes for development and growth.

A mentor is somebody who can help guide, advise, support and impart wisdom. They take the time to get to know their mentee and the challenges they’re facing, and then use their understanding and personal experience to help that person improve.

Mentoring is a well proven personal and career development enhancer, with both the person being mentored and the one doing the mentoring gaining a lot from the relationship.

Mentoring vs Coaching

MentoringCoaching
Typically voluntaryTypically paid
Mentor advises and guidesCoach trains and up-skills
Working to achieve specific personal development goalsWorking to develop specific skills or knowledge
Mentor advises based on personal experienceCoach does not necessarily discuss personal experience
All-round self-improvementSpecific improvement areas

Mentoring and coaching can co-exist and compliments one another within organisations, and the best mentors will practice elements of coaching in their sessions.

Mentoring Myth Busting

There are some common misconceptions about mentoring. Let’s set the record straight:

Mentors have to be senior

Mentoring has no age requirements, and older people can benefit from being mentored by younger people. What’s important is relevant experience and knowledge.

Mentoring is Elitist

Many people still see mentoring as the old fashioned idea of senior managers taking people ‘under their wing’. But mentoring is accessible, fair and inclusive.

Mentoring only benefits the Mentee

As you’ll know from our other blog posts: this is not definitely not true. Mentoring has many benefits for both the mentee and mentor.

Mentors and Mentees should be similar

While familiarity is nice, the best learning happens by being exposed to different perspectives and ways of thinking.

Why mentoring?

Benefits for Mentees

Having a mentor – who is not a direct co-worker but knows the mentee in a professional capacity – is highly valuable to both career development and progression, as well as personal development and self-confidence.

Those with mentors benefit from:

  • Self-confidence
  • Self-awareness
  • Job satisfaction
  • Personal Network
  • Reduced self-doubt
  • Communication skills

Mentees are exposed to new ways of thinking.

Having somebody to challenge their assumptions and question their approach to problems can lead to innovative thoughts and decisions.

Those with mentors also benefit from growing their personal network outside of their team and organisation.

A mentor can make introductions to a whole range of inspirational and important people that may have an impact in their careers later down the line.

Benefits for Mentors

Being a mentor should not be seen as ‘giving back’ alone, as there are many benefits for the mentors themselves .

Those with mentees benefit from:

  • Communication skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Delivering feedback
  • Self-confidence
  • Rewarding feelings
  • Personal feedback

Good mentors naturally become skilled at effectively delivering feedback, advising, and helping someone unlock their full potential.

This expertise is valuable to all aspects of life, and so not only is the mentor up-skilling their mentee, but they are also up-skilling themselves.

In a study by Harvard Business Review, they found that that people who served as mentors experienced lower levels of anxiety, and described their job as more meaningful, than those who did not mentor.

Wrapping up

Countless studies around mentoring demonstrate the benefits it can have on both individuals and organisations.

From mental health, to productivity, to promotion rates, mentoring can make an impact across many areas of someone’s personal and professional life.