There has been a lot of press about bringing the US model of having mentors to help with career development in the news lately, I found that interesting, because I can remember organising mentoring programmes in 2005. However, in speaking with some of my colleagues who work in HR, I found that while some Graduates and Interns are often matched with mentors, those with some work experience are not.
My years of experience working alongside senior managers, employees and entrepreneurs, I’ve found one thing to be true ‘No man (or woman) is an island’. Everyone needs support and a listening ear at some point. In order to have a successful business or build a successful team within your business you need to mentor and be mentored.
As an entrepreneur it’s important to have a mentor, sometime more than one! Entrepreneur’s are often driving their business forward, focussed 100% on the tasks in hand. Focus is a good thing but sometimes this can mean that you focus on the things that you are good at to the detriment of other things that you should be doing or reviewing.
You need someone you respect who can cast a critical eye, keep you accountable and teach you the lessons that they have learnt so that you don’t have to learn the hard way! Mentors can also open doors, introduce to you to their network and potential clients.
A great mentor will help you set your targets and keep you accountable, remind you to invest in yourself, and tell you the truth when others might not.
Within your organisation having a mentoring programme that is outside the traditional line management structure, gives your employees an opportunity to have a relationship that is focussed on developing their career, rather than their immediate objectives and gives them a safe space to explore their aspirations. Employees who are mentored tend to progress quicker, be more motivated and more loyal to the organisation.
Being a mentor is also enriching, you don’t realised how much you know until you start imparting your knowledge to others. So invest some time and reap the benefits of a more motivated, driven workforce and a more balanced you!