Will a Mentor Help Me Grow?

Spoiler Alert: The answer is yes.

Recently, a client contacted me to help them build a mentor program for their managers. And in our early conversations, I asked them what they thought would be the biggest barrier for managers wanting to enroll in the program.

And they said, “Not seeing the benefits of having a mentor. In other words, will this help us grow in our career as a leader?” Good question: if an activity will not move us closer to our goals, then we shouldn’t do it.

According to a recent study by MentorCliQ, the Mentor program not only has direct benefits for all those who participate, but it also positively impacts the organization, where those companies with a mentor program had three times higher profit margins than those that didn’t.

Let’s look at how we learn.

Learning is the process humans use to acquire new understanding, knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, attitudes, and preferences. Learning starts with the raw data from our senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell), and then we interpret that data based on the information we have previously stored in our minds. This loop of gathering and analyzing new data is how we make sense of the world.

Although a simplification, the sentence above gives us a good idea of how we learn. The challenge most of our employees have is that their perspective is limited. They haven’t been exposed to many challenges our organization faces. They don’t have experience in solving problems at a higher level.  They don’t know what they don’t know.

The original mentor, Athena – the Greek God of good council or wisdom, helped Odysseus’s son by helping him better understand the world and provided insights into human behavior. In a well-designed mentor program, mentors will share their wisdom and insights about thriving in the workplace, increasing the mentee’s perspective, teaching leadership skills, and preparing the mentee for future responsibilities.

So, yes, a mentor program can help you grow.

Here are five things to remember when building a mentor program.

  1. Have a clear objective in mind. What benefit will this program bring to the organization and the individuals participating in it?
  2. Get the organizational leader’s buy-in. The program will not be successful if you cannot convince the leader(s) of your organization it is worth the investment.
  3. Decide on the type of mentor program that will best serve your organization. It could be one-on-one, group mentoring, reverse mentoring, peer mentoring, and even career mentoring.
  4. Get the match right. The mentor and mentee must be able to work well together; if not, the time will be wasted.
  5. Provide training on how to be a good mentor and mentee. There are a lot of skills used in mentoring, including trust, communication, listening, coaching and feedback, goal setting, and time management.

Bonus: Celebrate the Effort: Mentors and Mentees should be celebrated for their efforts.

One of the things I love about a mentoring program is the return on investment. It doesn’t cost much but can significantly impact your organization and the mentors and mentees involved in the program.

If you have questions about mentoring, finding a mentor, or building a mentor program, please reach out to me at john@johnthalheimer.com, and let’s get a conversation going.

Have a wonderful week.

John

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