We have all had mentors at some point in life — people whom we admired or looked up to for their success, accomplishments, expertise and intelligence. Mentors impact their mentees in a strong way. Teachers have been known to mentor students through school in a way that has led them to taste success not just in school but even later on in their professional lives. Such mentees not only owe it all to their mentors, but also speak about them to others with a great deal of respect and gratitude.
Studies have shown that employees who have been well mentored or have a mentor to look up to and shadow at the workplace are highly engaged. Coaching and mentoring in the corporate world is meant to be a continuous process and modern companies are ensuring that it remains so.
While it is possible for organisations to formally put in place a mentorship programme for employees, there are also certain employees who proactively search for mentors who can train them. So why is it that mentors are in such demand?
It is because people in the past have succeeded primarily due to the strong relationships they have had with their mentors. Mentees feel at ease when they know that no matter what the problem is, they can always rush to their mentors for impartial advice and the appropriate guidance. They can be sure of receiving encouragement from their mentors, which helps them grow into self-confident individuals.
How are mentees benefitted?
Mentors help mentees in the following ways:
• Provide advice and guidance to help them move forward in their professional journey
• Make them realise their potential and utilise it to the maximum
• Provide them the power to chase their goals.
• Drive them to face challenges head on and overcome hurdles on their way to greater accomplishments.
• Push them to perform well and achieve greater heights.
• Develop their skills and encourage them to learn new things.
• Introduce them to people in positions of power and relevant to their career.
• Help them do well in their personal lives too, that is, beyond work.
• Ensure that their career progresses in the right direction.
• Keep them motivated at all times.
• Appreciate their work and abilities.
• Allow the mentees to shadow them at work.
• Build a strong and lasting relationship with them.
What makes a mentor-mentee relationship successful?
While trying to gain maximum benefit out of a mentor-mentee relationship, it is important to understand that mentoring is time consuming and may require sacrifices on the part of the mentor as well as the mentee. Both will need to be considerate of each other’s schedules, priorities and commitments. Also, whatever is discussed between the two of them should remain right there, that is, confidential.
It is important for the mentees to understand that their mentors are taking time out for them from their busy schedules. Therefore, the mentees should always be clear, to the point and very specific when they approach their mentors with a query or seek their advice. They should be grateful to their mentors for their guidance, advice, and tips.
Mentees need to follow their mentors’ suggestions and advice, convert them into concrete actions and also get back to them with a feedback.
What is in it for the mentors?
While nurturing juniors or mentoring individuals, the mentors gets the opportunity to introspect and give serious thought to their own habits and practices. And even improve on them if required.
Guiding and advising another person provides a lot of mental satisfaction to the mentors. It gives them a purpose in life and adds more meaning to their role in the workplace. The fact that their knowledge and experience is being readily received by another person and being put to good use for the betterment of that individual is a very satisfying thought for them. Also, their efforts at mentoring make their peers respect them more. And somewhere, the mentoring process also helps mentors understand the working of the organisation better.
A mentor may have more than one mentee, and similarly, a mentee can have more than one mentor. The frequency and regularity with which they meet has significance in their relationship. The two should trust each other completely and respect each other’s opinions. Also, both need to be great listeners, only then can they do justice to their respective roles. It is important for the mentees to let their mentors know how and in which way their mentorship has benefitted them. They should know how they have made a difference in somebody’s life or career by sharing their knowledge or holding their hand. Mentor-mentee relationships end up being rather strong and memorable. These are partnerships that last a lifetime.