It’s no news that no one has achieved his or her life goals single-handedly. If you look deeper, you will see that most influential individuals had some form of assistance from others during their journey. It is important to look around you and find a like-minded individual you can partner with to assist you on your growth journey. In a work environment, this person can be your colleague, supervisor, professor or industry leader. They can take up the role of a mentor in your life.
But…Who is a mentor?
A mentor can be described as a counsellor, tutor or guardian, who is intentional about helping a person achieve their goals quicker, thereby allowing them to succeed even on a nearly impossible level. He or she is a tower of strength to a mentee. A mentor takes an individual under his or her wings. He or she influences the personal and professional growth of the mentee. He or she likewise prompts the mentee on the means to take to arrive at their planned goals. A mentor links you with people in his field who can help you advance in your career, push you to make a move and get the job done. In business, a good mentor can be a game-changer. A good mentor ties the needs of the mentee and organization to offer valuable results.
Do you need a mentor?
You don’t need to have a mentor but he or she can be very helpful. According to Sage.com, 97% of those with a mentor say they are valuable, 55% believe mentoring can help them succeed, 60% look for experience in a mentor above anything else, but 85% currently do not have a mentor. It goes to say that enlisting the help of others in your career will not derail you from achieving your goals. You need to surround yourself with individuals aligned with your vision. Mentors are essential because they help you fix work hiccups and assist you on your career path. No man is an island, according to John Donne. When the going gets tough, talk to your mentor. You owe it yourself to live a life free from stress. You feel good when someone you confide in protects you from making certain mistakes and helps you to overcome some slip-ups. If you think about it, having a good support system is not a bad idea.
How do I approach a person to be my mentor?
Relax, we’ve got you covered. Asking an individual to be your mentor is easy. Do not overthink it. Below are steps to guide you when you want to ask someone to be your mentor:
- Ask the potential mentor whether he or she would like to meet and discuss: It takes time to build a relationship or a rapport. You need time to get to know a person before you ask him or her to be your mentor. You need to learn about their current career and goals. You need to set up a time to meet your potential mentor so you can discuss. Ensure that you follow up after your initial meeting but do not pester the life out of him or her. You don’t want to come off as a nuisance. Engage in meaningful conversations with your potential mentor and ask the right questions.
- Describe what advice or guidance you are seeking and for what purpose: There is a reason you contacted the person to be your mentor and you need to understand it. Do not be shy to state your purpose of communication. For example; do you plan on switching careers or you would like to run for a post. Decide on what you’re seeking advice for and be able to communicate it. Listen attentively to their success stories and learn from them.
- Discuss the amount of effort you are willing to put in and ensure that you are committed: You have to make it clear to your mentor that you are committed to getting the job done. This in turn motivates your mentor to make those sacrifices for you. Be realistic and show that you are willing to commit to giving the right amount of time and effort.
- Acknowledge them for their time: You must appreciate your mentors for giving thought to your request and for taking time out of their busy schedule to be of help to you. You could also repay the gesture and be respectful of their time. Appreciate them after each session.
How to choose someone to be your mentor
Here are some tips to consider during your search for a mentor;
- Pair up with someone you are compatible with: Mix up with the right individuals that will help you reach your goals. Ensure that you both get along and your personalities are not clashing. Also, bear in mind that it takes time for a relationship to grow so do not be too quick to opt out. Take things slowly. Besides, do not ignore signs that could lead to conflicts in the future. Speak up when an issue occurs and do not be afraid to leave the relationship. It isn’t a do or die affair.
- Search for a mentor who will give you honest and direct feedback: Brad Finkeldei, Muse Career Coach, says a good mentor is “someone willing to call you out on your BS.” A good mentor will tell you the truth even when you don’t want to hear it. He or she will challenge you to improve. Your mentor could double as your accountability partner, i.e. someone who will hold you responsible for your actions.
- Find a mentor or someone who is knowledgeable and expert to help you on your journey: You need someone who can provide you with the skill, experience and experiential blueprint to enable you to achieve your goals. You need someone who has been through similar phases to guide you on your journey. The person could either be older or younger than you but that shouldn’t be your main focus.
Reasons why mentorship in a work environment is impactful
Without further ado, let’s dive into the reasons why developing a mentorship program in a work environment is impactful.
Better onboarding for new employees
It is essential to inculcate a mentorship program in the work environment to enable new hires or existing employees to advance in their careers. According to a CNBC/SurveyMonkey Workplace Happiness Survey conducted from June 21–30, 2019, more than 4 in 10 workers who don’t have a mentor say they have considered quitting their job in the past three months. The onboarding phase is the starting point of an employee experience. A mentor can be a useful resource for new employees during this significant phase. Studies have proven that the first 30 days for a new hire will determine whether the employee will leave or stay. When an employee starts a new job, they are pretty much unsure about certain things. They need someone to guide them and put them through. They want to cement their position in the organization and build relationships with their colleagues.
The mentorship program creates an appealing work culture. Organizations need to foster beneficial relationships among their employees by leveraging mentoring. This helps to attract, retain, and nurture talents in the tech and cybersecurity community. The performance of the employee depends largely on the collaboration of the team members. They need to cooperate and support each other to get the best out of their job. Mentors can ease the onboarding process because 80% of learning in a workplace happens informally. The mentors can assist the employees to align with the business strategy more quickly. It takes the weight off the shoulders of the company leaders, who can spend more time managing the business and less time working on the onboarding process.
Reduced Employee Turnover Rates
According to LinkedIn 2021 Workplace Learning Report, 94% of employees said they would stay at a company longer if they were offered opportunities to learn and grow. Mentorship is a new method of employee retention. It provides opportunities and guidance to employees who need to move ahead in their careers. It helps employees to work on their growing skills. It also allows employees to be more involved in the company’s process. In a five year study of 1000 employees by Gartner and Capital Analytics, retention rates were higher for both mentees (22% more) and mentors (20% more) than for employees who did not participate in a mentoring program. The shared idea of mentoring enables both the career and leadership growth of an organization.
According to Robert Green Ingersoll, we rise by lifting others. The transfer of knowledge from a mentor to his protege is a fulfilling process. As both individuals get to spend time together and work together, they begin to build a friendship and gain each other’s trust. They become more open and expressive. When the employees are happy and satisfied with the guidance which they received, they most likely will pass it on and return the favour by sacrificing their time to coach new hires. Research shows that 89% of those mentored, go on to mentor themselves contributing to a culture of learning and mentoring. A mentorship program gives room for the exchange of knowledge and best practices. It enables employees to work effectively as a team as they rely on each other. The employees might even be motivated to stay longer in the company at the end of the day.
Unlock New Potential
Learning doesn’t stop and there is always room for improvement. By setting up a mentorship program, your employees will continue to garner more knowledge. After you have trained your employees and they are more skilled, it becomes easier to give them new roles especially leadership positions. According to research conducted by Olivet Nazarene University, 76% of individuals who do have a mentor view their mentoring relationship as being important to their overall success. Mentoring programs help employees navigate their career path and train them to be able to take up key roles in your organization. No doubt putting a mentoring program in place will help your company grow over time.