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Mentoring and the benefits for mentors, mentees and businesses?

Both aspirational individuals and progressive businesses constantly seek to learn, to develop and to explore new ideas. There are many ways to expand horizons and fine tune skills. But perhaps few so effective as working with a mentor.

Students, workers and entrepreneurs alike will always find that their studies and endeavours constantly deliver unexpected challenges. Regardless of our self-confidence and ability, we will all encounter issues that we didn’t see coming and that we simply don’t know how to handle.

But those who have been there before us will understand the issues we face and can provide the support and solutions we need.

There is certainly no substitute for real world experience in any field and that is why mentors can be priceless assets. Better still, they themselves can also benefit greatly from working with others.

What is mentoring?

Sign post with mentoring success points

Mentoring is the building of a mutually rewarding, voluntary relationship between a mentor and a mentee. It differs from teaching, coaching or training in that mentors generally give their time for free and the relationship between the parties is both dynamic and less formal.

A mentor is usually someone boasting significant knowledge and experience in the field that the mentee is studying or working in. They offer guidance to the mentee as they navigate their way through their course or role.

Mentoring may take many forms including one-on-one conversations and group activities, whether in person or online.

What are the benefits for mentees?

Of course, the core benefits of being mentored are the advice that a mentor can offer and access to their wealth of knowledge. But there are several less obvious benefits that ensure the process inspires impressive personal development. Mentees tend to gain insights and skills that are applicable not just to their current studies or role, but to any course of study or career.  

Improved learning ability

We all know that learning is the key to development in every aspect of our lives. But that doesn’t mean that we correctly focus our efforts or allow ourselves to be as ambitious as we could be. A mentor can assist their mentee in better targeting their learning to concentrate on what would really make a difference. This support may also give mentees the confidence to step outside their comfort zones to explore and test ideas or methods that they may have believed were too risky or challenging for them.

Better time management

Time is a precious commodity and so it pays to use it wisely. Mentors can help mentees to focus on what is most relevant and what will prove to be effective rather than wasting their time on peripheral issues. Mentees can call on the experience of their mentors to learn how to recognise and isolate problems quickly and to identify where solutions to those problems may be found.

Enhanced working relationships

For those with a tendency to micro-manage or to ringfence their own endeavours, a mentor can be invaluable in demonstrating the value of working relationships. The partnership that is built between a mentor and mentee is a relationship of reciprocity that brings to the fore the benefits of sharing knowledge and expertise. Mentees discover that they can be stronger by collaborating with others than when trying to tackle something on their own.

Greater confidence

Mentee and Mentor

In developing an effective working relationship and by improving both their learning skills and time management, mentees gain greater confidence in their ability. That confidence relieves stress and enhances productivity.

What are the benefits for mentors?

Mentoring programs certainly help the mentees but can prove to be just as beneficial for the mentors. 

Enhanced self-esteem

A mentor will boast greater knowledge and experience than their mentee and this alone will inspire confidence and higher self-esteem. But as the mentee becomes stronger and more adept at their work, their mentor will see the impact of their efforts and their self-esteem will grow further.

Keeping in touch

This practice enables the mentors to keep in touch with new developments in their industry or field. By working with new entrants to that field, mentors can explore innovative ideas while maintaining their voice in the industry.

The feel-good factor

There’s no doubt about it, helping others can make you feel good and so mentors can benefit from a significant boost. Most people also enjoy sharing their knowledge with others. It turns out that altruism isn’t so altruistic after all!

Professional development

A mentor’s role is to support, guide and impart knowledge. But they could also have much to learn from their mentee. Nobody can ever know it all and every field of study or industry will be constantly evolving. Mentoring can help to fill knowledge gaps. The work will also improve communication skills, management skills or technical ability while addressing cultural biases. In addition, leadership skills tend to be enhanced through mentoring.

Industry development

By sharing their knowledge and experience, learning themselves and building connections, mentors help to drive improvements in their industry. They also find themselves in a position of greater influence.

Networking opportunities

Brain growing knowledge

Mentors gain the opportunity to network with professionals that they may otherwise have never met including leaders and other mentors. Valuable connections can be made, and useful relationships established.

What are the benefits for businesses?

All businesses are constantly striving to improve their market share. To do that they must retain their best employees, attract the finest talent and ensure that their workforce boasts superior skills. Many businesses now see the benefits of leveraging the skills and experience of mentors.

Addresses workforce turnover

Replacing employees can be a time-consuming, frustrating and costly process. Companies with mentoring programs tend to have higher staff retention rates than those who don’t. Research has shown that both mentees and mentors are more likely to be retained by their employers than other members of the workforce.

Reduces expenditure

Higher rates of staff retention will dramatically reduce the operating costs of a business. In addition, the knowledge and experience of mentors helps to ensure that mentees become more productive, resulting in further cost savings.

Promotes personal engagement

Company advantage to mentoring

With many people now working remotely, employees often feel detached from their organisations, and many crave greater connections with their colleagues. Even those working on site can feel less than connected to their leaders and may feel that this presents a barrier to career progression. Mentees benefit from opportunities to build connections with their mentors and those mentors will help to enhance their mentees’ confidence, communication skills and team working abilities. All of which leaves employees feeling more connected and supported which results in improved job satisfaction.

Why is mentoring so important?

In many ways the world feels smaller than ever and it is easy to feel disconnected from colleagues or fellow students. Working remotely or mainly communicating with others online or via mobile phones can leave us feeling isolated. That sense of detachment can erode our self confidence as we may have nobody to compare ourselves to or to bounce our ideas off. 

There are no pats on the back, rounds of applause or nods of approval to enjoy when we are disconnected from our peers or leaders. It is impossible to see many of the impacts of what we do and to take confidence from these. Even when working on site, it is easy to feel like a small fish in a very big sea.  

Mentoring can change everything. Giving mentees greater connectivity while helping them to hone their skills and to boost their confidence, mentors drive improvement, satisfaction and ambition. All of which helps academic institutions and businesses to achieve superior results.

Kaori Myatt

Our own Kaori Myatt relishes her mentoring roles. She currently

mentors TCLoc MA in Localisation students at the Université de Strasbourg together with translation students attending the University of East Anglia. Kaori has seen how mentoring helps mentees to thrive and is acutely aware of how the process has enhanced her own abilities. She would be delighted to share the details of her experiences with anyone who is considering becoming a mentor or thinking about establishing a mentoring program.

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James Myatt

5 min read

Feb 15



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