Research by Sage found that of those with a mentor 97 percent say they are valuable, 55 percent believe mentoring can help them succeed, 60 percent look for experience in a mentor above anything else, but 85 percent currently do not have a mentor.
At 10Eighty we are keen on mentoring, we have mentors and we mentor others, as a matter of course, because we know it works. We believe that organisations need to support and encourage both informal and formal mentoring among their employees. Mentoring enriches interaction within the organisation and consciously encouraging and supporting employees enhances the quality of their performance, boosts engagement and commitment, and sets a standard of knowledge sharing and good management practice for everyone in the workplace.
A two way process
The great thing about mentoring is that when it’s working well the mentor gets as much out of the process as the mentee does. Deloitte found that mentors had a better understanding of their operation as a whole, leading to the opening up of a range of opportunities for revenue generation as a result of insights gained as employees used the insights and perspectives gained during mentoring.
In other words, the mentor benefits as much as the mentee from fresh perspectives and re-examined attitudes. Mentoring encourages a ‘back to the shopfloor’ point of view and offers a valuable real time opportunity to make connections and learn about life outside the corner office. It’s a two-way transfer of experience and perspective.
Mentoring can be a really rewarding role – as well as the satisfaction of helping someone else to develop, mentors often find they learn from the experience, particularly by working on issues outside of their ‘familiar’ territory. Mentors hone their communication and coaching skills by undertaking the role which also encourages self-reflection of the mentor’s values, leadership style and perspective – it helps the mentor by providing insights and focus on their own professional development and opportunities.
Contributing to someone else’s development can be very satisfying and most mentors feel a tremendous sense of achievement when the mentee achieves their goals. Mentors also get an opportunity to improve their coaching and networking skills, as well as understanding the views from other areas or levels within the organisation. Through mentoring you pass on your values and as well as your mission or legacy.
The organisation can use mentoring to help feed the leadership pipeline, deepening alignment of values and behaviours across the organisation. Mentoring is a personal developmental relationship; whereby one person helps another in making significant transitions in knowledge, work or thinking. That personal relationship can help improve employee engagement, confidence and transferable skills in particular communication skills so it is especially useful as part of leadership development.
It really works. A survey by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills found that 94 percent of SMEs using external support have seen benefits. These firms are more ambitious and have higher relative turnovers. What’s not to like?