Did you know that the concept of mentoring dates back to Ancient Greece? Mentorship can benefit you personally and professionally. It may also improve your company or organization through mentoring programs.
In the digital age, mentoring can leverage popular technologies, including smartphones, chat platforms, and social media. Your business or organization can streamline mentorship by eliminating the need for multiple devices.
Business mentoring programs can also help improve your employees’ professional development. For instance, you can boost brand awareness to tap employees you need.
Keep reading to discover some of the key advantages of mentoring.
What Is Mentoring All About?
Before discussing the benefits of mentorship and even the purpose of mentoring, it’s critical to understand mentorship itself.
What Are Mentees, Mentors, and Mentoring?
A mentor is an individual that can help you:
- Improve and increase your skills
- Make wiser decisions
- Gain fresh viewpoints
A mentor is someone who helps mentees develop their talents, make smarter choices, and gain new perspectives on their life and career.
A mentee (person being mentored) can benefit from the mentor's knowledge and experience (person mentoring).
Through mentorship, mentors leverage their experience to guide their mentees. Such mentoring can help a mentee's career or life in the present and future.
Learning from a mentor means you can learn from a role model instead of learning by “trial and error.”
The First Mentor
The term “mentor” seems to originate from the epic poem The Odyssey, likely written by Homer, an ancient Greek author.
The Odyssey character Mentor is the goddess Athena in disguise. The older man provides support and guidance to a character named Telemachus.
Telemachus is the son of the hero Odysseus, who is travelling home after the ten-year Trojan War.
How Mentees Benefit from Mentoring
Mentees can experience several benefits from mentoring, including:
- Guidance and advice from an expert
- Increased confidence
- Personal or professional development opportunities
- Awareness of other approaches
- Opportunity to test new ideas and learn important processes
- Understanding of how organizations function
- A network of peers, such as coworkers.
Here are some of the general ways mentees can benefit from mentoring.
Receive a Fresh Perspective
Sometimes it can be challenging to determine your strengths and weaknesses. However, with a mentor’s advice, you’re likely to see the “big picture” more clearly, including risks and challenges.
Ask the Tough Questions
Asking the right questions helps you determine your goals and what you need. Mentors can help mentees think about such issues and which questions to ask.
Share Your Struggles
There’s an excellent chance that your mentor has experienced the same struggles as you have. For this reason, it’s easier for them to help mentees like yourself get through them.
Learn to Navigate Your Way
Ultimately, people go through a variety of experiences. However, you can learn faster when leveraging the knowledge and expertise of a mentor.
Mentees can explain their situation to a mentor. Then a mentor can provide advice and guidance about the mentee’s situation based on their life experiences.
How Mentoring Benefits Personal Development
Here are some of the benefits mentoring can provide for developing your personal life:
New Ways of Thinking
Having a mentor can expose you to new ways of problem-solving. This process can promote innovation and produce long-term benefits for the mentee and mentor. Even experienced mentors can discover new ideas and methods for tackling problems.
A mentor can help you evaluate your strengths, weaknesses, and values. Having such advisers can make you more self-aware. This feature is critical in terms of personal and professional development.
A mentor can provide increased self-confidence. You can learn to take care of yourself in challenging situations. The mentor’s success can also boost your confidence to achieve their success.
Receiving and Giving Feedback
Feedback is a crucial component if you want to improve personally. While feedback is vital, people often don’t ask for it. In addition, managers may have difficulty providing feedback honestly and effectively.
Mentorship can help you receive feedback positively. This process occurs as you develop a relationship with your guide.
How Mentoring Benefits Career Development
Mentoring may also provide you with benefits related to career development, including:
Promotions and Raises
People who receive mentoring may receive more raises and promotions than workers without such guidance. One study found that mentors and mentees were 5 times more likely to be promoted than their non-mentor(ed) peers. Mentees can leverage the experience and knowledge of their advisors, avoiding many potential mistakes.
Mentoring programs are pretty common among America's most successful companies. Around 70% of Fortune 500 companies offer business mentoring programs to their employees.
A mentor makes it easier to grow your social network beyond your coworkers. Such advisors may allow you to connect with inspiring people who can impact your career in the future.
Mentors can function as role models for particular behaviours. Communication skills are one example.
You can learn and use some effective behaviours from the mentor. You can also receive feedback about your communication effectiveness.
Workers who achieve their career goals can experience feelings of fulfillment and success. Mentors frequently help mentees reach their career goals, increasing job satisfaction.
Mentors can also experience greater job satisfaction. That’s because they often find their work to be meaningful.
Overcoming Career Obstacles
Mentors can help look for solutions to problems to achieve career obstacles. Problems can range from short-term operational problems to long-term issues.
Mentors can help mentees avoid job-related problems. Avoiding the trial and error method can help prevent learning from your mistakes. You can avoid potential problems before they become problems!
In some situations, mentors can also provide tangible support, like sponsoring mentees. Mentors can become advocates for the mentee and their career.
How Mentoring Benefits Mental Health
Results of a 2018 study suggest that mentors can enhance their mentees' mental health. Researchers believe mentorship positively impacts both mentees' and mentors' mental health.
Dealing with mental issues can lead to isolation and cause anxiety over an individual’s abilities and future.
Not many people feel comfortable being open and candid about their mental state. Many still choose not to speak up, which causes them to isolate themselves.
Employees may experience isolation due to problems originating from their work or personal lives. Mentors can be authoritative figures or confidants to their mentees, supporting workplace mental health issues.
Lower Anxiety Levels
The Harvard Business Review (HBR) conducted a study investigating mentoring’s positive effects.
Researchers observed that mentors experienced lower anxiety levels and perceived their jobs as more meaningful. HBR compared those results to non-mentors.
Hope for the Future
Fear and anxiety about the future are common among those with mental health disorders. Mentoring may help relieve those feelings and create a “light at the end of the tunnel.”
Mentees can experience reduced anxieties about the future. They can instead experience optimism about what the future holds for them.
Boosting a worker’s self-confidence may positively affect their mental health. This result can become particularly true as mentees start to feel supported in issues such as career paths.
Meanwhile, mentors’ confidence also increases. Helping a mentee reach their goals can function as mentors’ success.
How Mentoring Benefits Businesses and Organizations
There’s no doubt mentoring helps both the mentor and mentee. But these benefits carry over to their workplaces as well. To leverage the growth and development of employees, businesses should consider democratizing mentorship by starting mentoring programs. There are many goals and objectives mentorship can help organizations meet.
Mentoring programs can provide various benefits to companies and organizations, including:
Mentoring is an affordable way that your senior employees can share industry and organizational knowledge with younger staff.
This process can help younger employees prepare for potential roles as senior employees.
Higher job satisfaction among mentors and mentees can have a positive effect on employee retention and engagement.
Public awareness of the health and wellbeing of people in stressful occupations has increased in recent years.
Examples of people in stressful professions and occupations include police officers, firefighters, lawyers, surgeons, enlisted military personnel who get pressured, experience body aches and stabbing pain, exhaustion, etc.
Mentoring can be one way to enhance mental health and wellbeing among people in such professions.
The Harvard Business Review conducted a longitudinal study of a formal mentoring program within an English police force. A longitudinal study examines several variables over an extended period.
The mentor program was designed to enhance the development of junior officers by allowing them to discuss goals and concerns and receive guidance.
HBR’s study included a field experiment that had two parts:
- An examination of mentor-mentee pairs
- Separate interviews of mentees and mentors
The experiment results indicated that mentors experienced a more meaningful job and lower anxiety levels than non-mentors.
The senior and junior offers were comfortable discussing shared anxieties and coping mechanisms to deal with them.
Mentoring programs also make it easier for companies to recruit new employees. Younger workers, in particular, value mentoring programs and similar opportunities to enhance their career opportunities.
Positive Company Culture
Successful mentoring programs support a culture of learning and nurturing. In turn, mentoring can filter through an entire company.
A mentoring culture in any organization is not only a result of implementing a mentoring program. Rather, mentoring encompasses all aspects of the company’s process, from onboarding to training and developing leaders.
Mentoring may help improve your employees’ productivity. For example, workers can make better decisions, produce fewer mistakes, and learn from the experience of mentors with significant industry experience.
The concept of mentorship dates back thousands of years to Ancient Greece and Homer's Odyssey. Flash-forward to the 21st century. Today, mentoring relationships can help individuals live a fulfilling life and companies run successful businesses.
Mentor-mentee programs also offer opportunities for senior and junior employees to participate in a symbiotic relationship in which both parties benefit by sharing experiences and learning from each other. It’s a win-win situation!
To learn more about mentoring programs and how to start one, check out our comprehensive guide on how to bring mentorship to your organization. If you’re a mentor or mentee check out our handbooks on how to be a great mentor or mentee.