What is Business Mentoring
Mentoring is defined as a professional relationship between an experienced person with a proven track record and the motivation to share his/her knowledge (the mentor) and a younger professional (the mentoree) who is interested in developing specific skills and knowledge that will help him/her improve performance, address specific challenges and optimize his/her own value creation potential.
Mentoring will provide valuable support for entrepreneurs and executives at critical points in their lives as it is a mutual way of allowing both mentor and mentoree to develop transferable skills that will prove useful throughout their professional lives.
In a typical mentoring relationship, the mentor coaches the mentoree on a specific issue or a particular skill by sharing resources, personal experience and networks. The mentor stretches the mentoree beyond his/her comfort zone while creating a safe learning environment for testing new ideas and taking risks.
You will find below the list of benefits to the company, the mentor and the mentoree derived from the implementation of a well-structured mentoring program.
Benefits to the Company
- Encouraging the retention of top talents and improving the level of employee satisfaction.
- Reducing staff turnover costs and improving productivity.
- Breaking down the “silo” mentality that reduce cooperation across functions or departments within a company.
- Sending a clear message that the company is willing to invest in its staff and their personal and professional development.
- Using the company’s own employees and managers, instead of outside consultants, as internal experts for professional development.
- Supporting the creation of a multicultural workforce by creating relationships among diverse employees and allowing equal access to mentoring.
- Creating a mentoring culture, which continuously promotes individual employee growth and development.
Benefits to the Mentor
- Gaining insights from the mentoree’s background and challenges that can be used in the mentor’s professional and personal development.
- Developing leadership and communication skills with a focus on active listening and interpersonal behavior.
- Gaining personal satisfaction in sharing expertise and knowledge with others.
- Re-energizing the mentor’s career by providing an opportunity to share best practices and learning from previous challenges.
- Engaging in a meaningful volunteering opportunity while gaining a sense of fulfillment and personal growth.
- Learning more about other areas within the organization, the sector or the market.
Benefits to the Mentoree
- Gaining practical advice and support from the mentor’s expertise and track record.
- Improving communication, negotiation and interpersonal skills.
- Receiving critical feedback in key areas such as communication, technical abilities, change management and leadership skills.
- Gaining access to specific resources, templates, documents and best practices available from the mentor.
- Developing a sharper focus on what is needed to grow professionally within the organization.
- Learning specific skills and knowledge that are relevant to personal and professional goals.
- Developing and regularly reviewing a road map to address professional challenges and achieve agreed goals.
- Expanding own’s network of contacts by leveraging from those of the mentor.
- Gaining knowledge about the organization’s culture and unspoken rules that can be critical for success.
- Having a friendly ear with which to share frustrations as well as key achievements.
Different types of Mentoring
The most common mentoring model, one-on-one mentoring matches one mentor with one mentoree. Most people prefer this model because it allows both mentor and mentoree to develop a personal relationship and provides individual support for the mentoree.
Group mentoring requires a mentor to work with 3-4 mentorees at one time or for a mentoree to work with 3-4 mentors at the same time. The group meets typically once a month to discuss various topics communicated earlier. Combining senior and peer mentoring, the mentor and the peers help one another learn and develop appropriate skills and knowledge.
Group mentoring is limited by the difficulty of regularly scheduling meetings for the entire group. It also lacks the personal relationship that most people prefer in mentoring.
This top-down model may be the most effective way to create a mentoring culture and cultivate skills and knowledge throughout an organization. It is also an effective succession-planning tool, because it prevents the knowledge “brain drain” that would otherwise take place when senior management retires.
How to Find the Best Mentor for You
Let me close this blog by sharing with you a few tips to find the best mentor for you.
- Who are you? Make sure that you are clear about your core competencies (what are you really good at) and your most important development areas (what you need to learn from your mentor)
- What do you want to do with your life? What are your short and medium-term goals that you would like to achieve and what kind of help you need in this journey?
- What are the specific outcomes that you want from this mentoring experience? Are you looking for expanding your network, acquiring new skills, bouncing ideas, addressing specific challenges…?
- Reach out to your existing network and identify potential mentors who have the expertise, the time, the motivation and the right attitude to become the right mentor for you.
- Select a mentor who can challenge you and stretch your boundaries in a mutually respectful way.
- Check the alignment in character and set of values as your mentor should be a person that you admire and respect both personally and professionally.
- Check also the references and testimonials available from your mentor in order to validate the fit with your specific needs.
- Get clarity on your expectations, time commitment, mentoring process and goals upfront so as not to be disappointed throughout your mentoring journey.
- Lastly, enjoy the ride and keep a journal of this journey that you will be happy to review and add to it at different inflection points in your life.
About the Author
Constantin Salameh is a Senior Coach and Investment Advisor at Berytech. He has coached and mentored dozens of entrepreneurs and executives in Europe, the Middle East and Africa over the past 35 years.