In both business and personal life, we should all be seeking to develop our skills, continually learn new things, and challenge ourselves on a regular basis.
This naturally takes a degree of devotion, and life can often get in the way of our self-improvement efforts.
Having a mentor – that is, somebody who can help guide, advise and teach you through a problem or towards a goal – is one way to stay on track.
Mentoring has the power to accelerate our self-development, career progression, and overall confidence. It’s therefore pretty surprising that only 37% of professionals have one, particularly as so many successful people praise and recommend mentorship.
What are the benefits of mentoring?
The benefits of mentoring go way beyond the mentee’s self development, positively affecting the mentors themselves as well as the organisations they work for.
Benefits of mentoring for personal development
Increased confidence: Whether it’s the ability to share ideas comfortably in meetings, or stand up for yourself in a challenging situation, people with mentors benefit from higher confidence in themselves. Mentors also experience an increase in self-confidence, as their mentee’s success reaffirms their abilities, resulting in a confidence boost.
Higher self awareness: Working out your goals with someone you look up to requires serious self-analysis around strengths, weaknesses, and values. As a result, those who have mentoring are more self aware that those who don’t – and self awareness is highly beneficial when it comes to career development.
Exposure to new ways of thinking: For both mentee and mentor, the mentoring process exposes new ideas and revelatory ways of thinking or problem solving. This can have long lasting effects on both people in the partnership, encouraging innovation.
Giving and receiving feedback: Feedback is something we should all want in order to improve, but probably don't ask for enough. Similarly, managers everywhere struggle with delivering feedback honestly and effectively. Mentoring helps people develop their relationship with feedback in a productive way.
Benefits of mentoring for career development
Promotions: Those who receive mentoring are promoted five times more often than people who do not have mentors.
Job satisfaction: Reaching your goals makes you feel fulfilled and successful. With mentors often helping mentees achieve their career goals, job satisfaction naturally increases. Similarly, those who mentor consider their job more meaningful and therefore experience higher job satisfaction and fulfilment than those who don't.
Personal network: Those with mentors benefit from growing their personal network outside of their colleagues. A mentor can introduce you to a whole range of inspirational and important people that may have an impact on your career later down the line.
Benefits of mentoring for mental health
Supporting isolation: People struggling with mental health issues often feel isolated and can experience severe anxiety about both their future and their own abilities. Mentalhealth.org.uk lists mentoring as a method of supporting mental health issues in the workplace, for both the mentor and mentee.
Self-confidence: An increase in confidence can positively impact mental health, particularly as mentees feel supported in their decisions and career path. Mentors also experience improved self-esteem and confidence from the act of helping another achieve their goals, resulting in improved mental health.
Lower levels of anxiety: Harvard Business Review conducted a study researching the positive effects of mentoring, and found that people who served as mentors experienced lower levels of anxiety, and described their job as more meaningful, than those who did not mentor.
Benefits of mentoring for an organisation
Positive company culture: A successful mentoring program fosters a culture of learning, nurturing, and growth. This will filter through the entire organisation and create teams of people who feel satisfied and happy at work.
Diversity in leadership: Mentoring considerably helps minority representation at the management level, with many organisations using mentoring to increase gender and ethnic diversity in leadership roles.
Knowledge sharing: Mentoring is an effective and low-cost way for senior employees to pass on knowledge of the industry and organisation to younger staff.
Employee engagement and retention: With mentees and mentors feeling more satisfied and fulfilled at work than other employees, naturally mentoring has a positive effect of employee engagement and retention.
Recruitment: Mentoring programs are an attractive work perk for many people, particularly millennials, who have come to expect mentoring and development opportunities from companies.
There you have it! The powerful benefits of mentoring affect everyone involved, and so if you don't have a mentor yet, speak to your company about programs they can put in place.
Or if you are the person with that power, check out our guide to How To Start A Mentoring Program.