We probably value having a mentorship to help guide our careers. We think of mentors as guides and advisors who help us take our jobs to the next level.
Despite the consensus that mentoring is beneficial, not all organizations encourage mentoring relationships to support employee development. For example, according to the Talent Mobility Research Report, over 40% of companies say they don’t offer this kind of employee support. The reason for the discrepancy between the value seen in mentoring and why companies don’t offer mentoring may lie in flawed thinking. Organizations may feel that the task of career development falls on the shoulders of their employees. You should take the lead, right? Also, performance reviews and feedback from managers should be enough to point employees in the right direction.
Leaders with this mindset misunderstand the role of Mentorship. This relationship is very different from the relationship you have with your manager. Because of this, they also miss out on the benefits of mentoring. If mentoring helps employees move up the career ladder faster, they must be doing a good job.
Let’s break down the specifics of why mentoring is important to building a successful career, outline how to find mentors, how to help organizations change the way they think about Mentorship, and the role of mentoring in the workplace.
Mentorship is the influence, guidance, or direction given by a mentor. A mentor is someone who teaches or gives help and advice to a less experienced and often younger person. In an organizational setting, a mentor influences the personal and professional growth of a mentee. Most traditional mentorships involve having senior employees mentor more junior employees, but mentors do not necessarily have to be more senior than the people they mentor. What matters is that mentors have experience that others can learn from.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mentorship
What is Mentorship?
A mentor is someone who acts as an advisor and supporter to a less experienced person. Traditionally, this relationship takes place between older and younger employees for career development purposes.
But many other forms of Mentorship have also proven their worth. In peer mentoring, peers support each other, but in reverse mentoring, the traditional mentoring relationship is turned upside down. We focus on growth and development regardless of the type of mentoring relationship.
We know it’s hard to get feedback. Also, judging whether those who provide feedback are doing their best can be confusing. It’s important to have. With such mentors, you can trust them to base career conversations based on candid honesty (personal care when faced with immediate challenges). These conversations with a mentor aren’t cruel, honest, and painful, but they try to overcome challenges in ways that shed light on new opportunities and inspire you to action.
Your relationship with your mentor is based on honest self-assessment and valuable guidance. It takes a more holistic approach to your development and embraces personal and professional growth. Mentoring relationships are beneficial, but essential for career advancement.
7 Reasons Why Mentorship is Important to Your Career
1. Mentorship boost your professional development
Mentor support helps mentees focus on their careers, build confidence, reach their goals, and expand their networks. Having a mentor can lead to self-discovery and help you further develop your career. Through their feedback, you can grow professionally and personally and steer your career in the direction you want.
2. Mentorship help clarify and set SMART goals
One of the main reasons for mentoring is for mentees to set goals. Mentors can help mentees define these using the SMART process. SMART Goals Setting is an acronym for:
- Time Sensitive Goals
SMART goals give mentoring purpose. A survey found that 93% of his employees believe goal setting is key to their job performance. For this reason, mentors are key to employee development.
3. Mentorship hold you accountable for reaching your goals
Mentors help mentees focus on what they need to do to advance their careers by defining goals and creating small steps to get there. These goals are also how we measure mentoring success.
Without a goal, the mentee has no direction or plan to aim for. Mentors help them stay on track and take responsibility for achieving their goals. It gives the mentee the motivation they need to work toward their goals.
4. Mentorshir develops your leadership skills
Mentoring promotes leadership skills such as listening, caring, and giving and receiving feedback. Participants develop these skills by using them in relationships. These soft skills are essential to your professional success.
A study of peer mentoring relationships at the University of Arizona found that formal mentoring programs lead to the development of the following soft skills in students:
- Verbal communication
I also found that the peer-to-peer mentoring I attended increased my self-efficacy and improved my ability to seek support when I needed it. One-on-one conversations with them lead to soft skill development.
5. Mentorship builds your confidence and problem-solving skills
In addition to developing leadership skills, having a mentor to give you advice and guidance can boost your confidence and help you develop problem-solving skills. When it comes to self-confidence, research shows that mentoring is associated with an overall increase in emotional health. Mentors provide another perspective that can help change bad habits and unhelpful mindsets. As a result, you will feel healthier and more confident. Mentors also act as soundboards for mentees to test ideas. This will improve your problem-solving skills.
6. Mentorship expand networks and open doors to new opportunities
Through mentoring, mentees can expand their network and reach out to others in a variety of ways. Mentors can share their connections directly with their mentees. Alternatively, mentors can introduce mentees to one or two key figures to support their career development and goals. This further boosts the mentee’s confidence as it allows them to step out of their comfort zone, develop their soft-her skills, and access new opportunities by meeting new people.
7. Mentorship provide valuable tacit knowledge and guidance
Mentors with more practical experience are ideally placed to provide insight to mentees. They have invaluable knowledge that is very important when it comes to helping mentees spot opportunities and solve problems. Mentors can guide mentees by giving them instructions on how to complete specific tasks or learn useful skills. You can also share tips for overcoming obstacles and challenges in career development.
This type of mentoring is based on the mentor’s extensive experience. The mentee has instructions like no other. At work, having a mentor who is a senior manager is a great opportunity because it can shed light on the inner workings of an organization that can help you move forward. In short, they know who is what and they share it with you.
How do I Find a Mentorship?
A Google search for “how to find a mentor” will give you plenty of advice to explore your network and use your connections to find potential mentors. They teach you to find common interests that spark conversations and ask questions that provide guidance and advice that you can apply to your career. In this way, you gradually build an informal mentoring relationship.
Your advice is spot on. If you are looking for a mentor yourself, then the above actions are a good place to start. Here are some other ways to find the right mentor.
Don’t look at the line manager
A manager or supervisor’s role is to help the team achieve its goals. You are like a coach in a way. But they’re not just focused on your career. Your boss may play an important role in your growth, but it’s best to find a third-party mentor. It gives me another useful perspective. This is why it’s important to separate the two and understand the difference between mentoring and coaching.
Join a community of experts in your field
Ideally, your mentor will have something in common with you. For example, they may work in the same industry. Expand your contacts and find your perfect match. Expand your network and find your ideal mentor by joining groups and professional communities in your area. You can also use apps like Shapr to digitally match people in your industry.
Advocate for workplace mentoring programs
A structured workplace mentoring program helps you connect with talented mentors in the workplace. Additionally, these mentors have already expressed interest and commitment to assisting their mentees. If your workplace does not already have a mentoring program, advocate for it. Mentoring programs help companies increase productivity, reduce turnover, increase employee engagement and attract top talent.
Mentoring can change your career path
Mentors support you, encourage you, provide feedback and advice, and help you define and reach your goals. It can be an important relationship in your life that can greatly influence your decision-making and career path.
It is important to note that some executives may not actively seek mentees. You may feel that it is not worth investing in an employee who may leave the company soon. If you want to reap the benefits of mentoring, you need to work more on building relationships with your mentors. Alternatively, if your company has a workplace mentoring program, it can simplify the process and connect you with people who want to make a difference in your life.
So you have the opportunity to find a mentor. You can either find it yourself or reach out to your organization’s leaders and suggest starting a mentoring program. Without a mentor, you may miss important growth and development opportunities. The benefits are too great to ignore.
Ryan Carruthers is Content Marketing Manager at Together Software. Together Software is a company that develops software that helps companies like Airbnb, Randstad, Discovery Channel, and Kellogg run world-class in-house mentoring programs.
If reading this article was helpful for you, we suggest you read the “How to Find Your Purpose? Questions That Will Help You!” article.