A mentor is someone you can look up to. It is a person who guides you and helps you in making well informed decisions. Mentorship means that someone takes you under their wing to teach you how to fly…so to speak. “One of the greatest values of mentors is the ability to see ahead what others cannot see and to help them navigate a course to their destination.” — John C. Maxwell
All young up and coming leaders on various levels in the workplace need mentorship. If you talk to any great leaders and thriving individuals, you will learn that behind their journey towards triumph, stands a mentor or even a few mentors who helped them get there.
Mentorship is such an important part of personal and professional growth that a lot of corporate companies have established mentorship programmes. Here’s why we need mentors in the workplace:
1. Important skills and knowledge are passed on from mentor to mentee. Mentors help you cross that bridge between knowing and doing by passing on their skills and knowledge that they have acquired throughout the years. Although there might be generation gaps, background differences or diversity, this is exactly what mentors are supposed to bring to the table to give mentees insights into various situations and scenarios. Mentors pass on what they have learned and in turn mentees can learn from their mistakes and experiences.
2. Supportive relationships are formed. A mentor gives a mentee access to a supportive relationship. A mentor becomes the mentee’s ‘go-to person’ which is someone where he/she can get advice from and assistance into how to deal with situations and how to respond or react.
3. Mentors give objective advice and constructive criticism. Mentors are authentic and objective people. They will tell you straight up if you need to change your attitude or how to deal with situations. With mentors, there are no guessing games or feelings spared, but the criticism and advice are still constructive, tactful and supportive.
4. Mentors help with setting reasonable and reachable goals, creating necessary boundaries and practicing the right disciplines to align your professional and personal growth.
5. Mentors become the mentee’s cheerleader and confidence-booster. They motivate and inspire mentees to go all the way. To never stop trying, and through this, they motivate each of them to focus on developing endurance.
6. Mentors are usually well connected within the arena they operate in. This opens up a lot of networking opportunities for mentees. Mentors usually introduce their mentees and try to assist them in climbing the ladder to success. After all, mentors want to see their mentees succeed.
7. The mentorship becomes mutually beneficial and personally rewarding for both parties. Mentors are proud to be part of the mentees journey and in turn, mentees feel honoured and invested in. When you are a mentor it doesn’t mean that there is nothing to be learned from the experience. Mentors also learn from their mentees.
Although mentors are very necessary for a business, it is not a one-way street. Mentee needs to be well informed about what it takes and why mentorship programmes are important to them. They need to be made aware of the value it provides. Mentors and mentees need to be compatible as well. Mentors can only transfer skills and invest in an individual if they are willing to learn and cooperate.
The Mindspa Institute is a soft skills training company that has a Mentoring and Coaching skills course equipping leaders with the tools to implement a mentoring and coaching approach to help unlock potential, reinforce strengths and counteract any negative behaviour, all with the aim of maximising the individual’s performance.
The concept and implementation of Mentoring and Coaching of individuals in business have grown significantly in recent years in South Africa as businesses recognise the increased value of retaining and growing star performers. Regular Mentoring and coaching sessions keep individuals on track in terms of the values, vision and strategy of the business and assist in the development of people in organisations. For more information contact The Mindspa Institute, a professional Skills Training Company, operating in Gauteng, Cape Town and Durban at [email protected], phone 010 1100227 or visit www.themindspa.co.za