Mentoring relationships are commonplace in schools, universities, religious communities and youth development programmes. Though, we are perhaps most familiar with their use in the workplace. Since they continue to be used in place of traditional training methods.
Traditional job training can only do so much in terms of providing employees with meaningful development opportunities. Participants often don’t retain what they’ve learnt all that well. And it can be easy to slip into old ways of working.
Through mentoring, employees have regular focus on their development. This not only increases their competence and productivity but improves retention rates, engagement and satisfaction at work.
In fact, studies have shown that mentoring is directly linked to increased employee promotions and positive salary grade changes.
But it’s not just the protégé or mentee that reaps all the rewards. Read on to find out more about the wider benefits of mentoring.
Benefits for the Mentee
Being mentored is probably the most valuable and effective growth opportunity an employee can have. Receiving personalised guidance, encouragement and support from someone in the know unlocks a number of personal and professional benefits.
Finding your feet
If you’re a new starter, having a mentor can help you understand and navigate the business. They’ll show you the ropes, explain expectations and generally help you to settle into your role quickly and effectively.
Learning new skills
Your mentor will either teach you skills directly or point you in the direction of someone who can. What’s more, they’ll monitor your uptake of the skill and check on your progress. Holding you accountable and ensuring you adopt and implement what you’ve learnt.
As your mentor learns about your goals and ambitions, they’ll introduce you to people who may be able to assist. Helping you to expand your professional network and line up future opportunities.
Defined career path
Learning from a mentor at any stage is beneficial but particularly so at the outset of your career. Receiving guidance from someone who’s walked the path before you can line you up for great success. You’ll understand your responsibilities in detail and learn the ins-and-outs of a company - from policies to practices and methodologies. Helping you advance effectively and at pace towards your career goal.
Benefits for the Mentor
While the benefits for mentees are clear, it may be less obvious why someone would sacrifice their time to mentor. However, there are a vast array of benefits to mentoring that are received by the mentor themselves.
Build a reputation
If you’re good at your job you’ll no doubt attract talented protégés and gain a reputation as a talent enhancer. This can increase your status as a mentor, leading to more opportunities within the workplace or clients if you’re freelance.
Using your knowledge and experience to help others succeed allows many mentors to feel a great sense of achievement. It can also help you improve skills like listening, patience and communication which you’ll practice regularly in the role.
Working closely with others will open you up to new ways of viewing yourself and the business. As mentees are often less experienced, you’ll see yourself through the eyes of a less senior member of the team. Which can be very beneficial when working on your approach and how best to handle yourself. Plus, a fresh perspective can often help you see company issues differently. Perhaps leading to an improved way of working.
Make a difference
We’d all like to feel like we’ve played a part in improving the world while we’re here. Mentors are actually well positioned to do just that. By passing on your ideas and values to the next generation, your teachings could be used for years to come.
Benefits for the Organisation
The benefits for the organisation are also in abundance. After all, they’re the ones footing the bill for the process. So there must be sufficient payback to make it worthwhile.
Develop the next generation of leaders
By enlisting senior team members to mentor those coming up the ranks, companies are better positioned to assess talent. They can monitor progress and adequately prepare the most promising candidates for advancement. By investing in the workforce companies have more influence in shaping and developing their future leaders.
Employees of today are more concerned with personal growth and finding purpose in their careers. If determined individuals feel their needs aren’t met in the workplace, they’ll leave and find a role where they are. By helping employees achieve careers goals and ambitions, companies who utilise mentors see significantly higher rates of employee retention.
Increased diversity in the workplace
Studies have shown that mentoring in the workplace is highly effective in retaining women and people from underrepresented communities. It encourages equality and provides each employee with the same opportunities for progression and development.
Organisations who commit time, expenses and resources to mentor their team benefit from increased employee satisfaction. Employees with mentors feel valued and empowered to take on additional roles and responsibilities. By working with a mentor to progress in areas of interest, they’re more likely to enjoy their job and be motivated by what they do. Improving their happiness at work and increasing their productivity.
Communicating corporate culture
Mentors provide an efficient way to communicate core values and what is expected of employees directly to them. They can help encourage preferred behaviours and detail how they are rewarded more effectively over ongoing sessions with individuals.
In building a reputation for employee investment, companies generate more interest from talented candidates looking for career progression and longevity.
An ear to the ground
Companies adopting a mentoring culture tend to have much better relationships with their workforce. Aside from encouraging a positive attitude, employers also have a direct line of communication to identify potential problems early. Mentors can’t go into specifics for confidentiality purposes. However, they can comment on the general mood of the team and bring attention to any potential red flags.
There are so many benefits that can be experienced by adopting an effective mentoring programme. The above are just a few of the most common felt by mentees, mentors and organisations.
If you’re reading this as an aspiring mentor, you can gain the skills needed to practice through an online course.
The ILM Level 3 Certificate in Coaching and Mentoring (Mentoring Pathway) for instance, teaches you everything you need to start. Giving you the knowledge and ability to develop others and improve performance in the workplace.
Held completely online this course can be studied from home and completed in just a few months. Allowing you to make the move into a mentoring position quicker than you might expect.
learndirect is one of the UK’s leading online course providers. Offering a number of courses to help you secure a professional mentoring position.
Find out more by clicking the link below to view the course in more detail.