Small, predominantly young teams may think a mentoring program may not be right for them due to a somewhat skewed mentor-mentee split. While this may be true for more traditional mentor-mentee relationships, peer mentoring is still a great option as it provides a plethora of benefits.
What might those be? Let’s take a look.
Benefits of Peer Mentoring
1. Everyone has something to share and impart, no matter how young or inexperienced they might seem.
A small team is usually made up of team members who bring some sort of expertise to the table that the team could benefit from. For example, a software engineer could help your marketing team understand your product better from a backend point of view. Meanwhile, operations could help your sales team better understand your supply chain in order to help with client expectations on fulfilment timelines, etc.
2. Younger members of your team might have more to teach than you think.
Younger members of your team are usually the most up to date with trends in your industry, as well as with emerging tech. Additionally, those fresh out of training or university could also be in the best position to give some theoretical refreshers to more mature or experienced employees.
3. Good and effective mentoring relationships don’t rely on the set-up.
When most people think of mentoring, they imagine an older, more experienced mentor paired with a young protegee. However, mentoring effectiveness doesn’t rely on a difference in age or experience of the mentoring partners. Instead, these relationships work due to a good attitude towards mentoring, clear, shared goals, and a commitment to supporting the mentee (in a traditional mentoring setup) or each other (in a peer mentoring set up).
Peer Mentoring In Action
We recently sat down with two pairs of peer mentors—Lauren and Pippa, as well as Jeremy and Leesa, both of Hydro Tasmania—to learn what their experiences of peer mentoring were like. Here’s what they told us.
“Our mentoring relationship is peer-to-peer. Apart from that though, we’re taking a fairly traditional approach – we take turns each session to be mentor/mentee, and the mentee comes prepared with a dilemma they want to work through. Because we are at similar places in our career, I find this discipline really useful in ensuring we both get the most out of each session, rather than just chatting.”Pippa
“Being new to Hydro Tasmania, I wanted to form a connection with someone outside my team who could help me understand the business a little better. I was also keen to discuss leadership and personal development with a person who had experience and an interest in these areas. Jeremy has been a great sounding board for ideas and solutions I have in mind, as well as helping me navigate company terrain. I always feel more self-assured and spirited after our conversations. I suspect Jeremy has also benefited from getting a fresh perspective on how our business operates.”Leesa
The Bottom Line
Peer mentoring is still an effective form of mentoring, despite not being the more traditional relationship people tend to think of. What’s more, it’s a form of mentoring that can be especially effective for small, agile teams, so why not give it a shot?