In a Gartner five-year study of 1000 employees they found that 25% of employees who enrolled in a mentoring program had a salary grade change, compared to only 5% of workers who did not participate.
The same study also found that mentees were promoted five times more often than those not involved in a mentoring program and that retention rates were higher for both mentees (22% more) and mentors (20% more).
According to the Harvard Business Review, 84% of CEOs in formal mentoring programs, said mentors had helped them avoid costly mistakes and become proficient in their roles much faster.
So, the statistics certainly stack up as to why participating in a mentoring program can be beneficial, but how do you ensure that you get the most from a mentoring relationship? Here are a few suggestions for setting up a successful and effective mentoring relationship.
Be a prepared Mentee
The first step in getting a good mentor is to have a specific goal or purpose that you want your mentor to focus on with you. Have you ever offered to help to someone yourself and heard the words “Anything you could do to help would be appreciated.”? Did you know where to start? Asking for “any help you can give” puts a lot of pressure on the mentor to work out where you are at and what you need. Whereas if you have a specific goal, purpose or challenge in mind then it is a good starting point for your discussions and gives the relationship a focus.
To take this one step further, it is important that you are also able to ask for very specific help. This is different from having a specific goal. So, for example, your overall goal may be to get a new job, but the specific help you may require could be holding mock interviews or putting together a CV or job application.
Another important tip to keeping your mentoring relationship on track is to always have an agenda. If you just turn up to a mentoring meeting and say, “What shall we talk about?” the chances are it is going to take much longer for you get to the key points that you need to focus on.
By preparing a short agenda ahead of the meeting which covers a few bullet points related to a particular topic or your overall goal, you will find your meetings are much more productive.
As a mentee you should enter the relationship prepared, with questions. However, and don’t be afraid of looking ignorant but do be prepared to share your fears, anxieties and weaknesses.
Be a prepared Mentor
Help your mentee discover their passion and purpose. Your mentee may already know their passion and purpose, but for those who don’t, helping them to discover and align these can help transform their career and life.
Show your vulnerabilities. Your mentee will see you as a role model and they may wish to emulate you. By showing your vulnerabilities you will enable them to explore their own vulnerabilities and talk openly with you about them.
Suspend your judgement. We all have individual differences, values and experiences, for this reason it is important to suspend your personal judgment when mentoring. One of your duties as a mentor is to facilitate the success of your mentees. Do not impose your line of thinking or values on them. Be an active observer and guide them accordingly.
Be transparent and authentic. Full transparency, honesty, authenticity and open communication are all important when mentoring. Request the same from your mentee and make it part of your mentorship agreement.
These simple tips should ensure a successful and productive mentoring relationship. If you would like to find out more about mentoring, become a mentor or find a mentor, why not take a look at our mentoring program, an exclusive benefit for NAHT members.