At Mentorloop, we are always talking about helping organisations achieve a ‘culture of mentoring’. But what does this actually even mean?
For us put simply, it’s the mentoring flywheel, where everyone is playing both the role of mentor and mentee. We don’t think anyone ever grows out of mentorship – we always have something we can learn from someone else. Therefore, it’s important to challenge some of our internal bias around how we view mentorship so the full benefits for both the organisation and individual can be realised.
Mentees, it’s time to become a mentor.
Often when we think about mentorship we put ourselves in one of two buckets: a mentee or a mentor. It may be that at a certain point in time you are seeking help with a particular problem or feeling like you need support and guidance from someone who has been there and done it all before you. Beyond being able to access timely and invaluable advice, being a mentee is a great learning experience in discipline, commitment and self-reflection. It’s these ‘secondary’ benefits that we often don’t recognise or appreciate at the time, but that in some cases become the most important learning outcome from the mentorship experience.
These are the ‘soft skills’ that can help us to become a more effective leader and a better communicator.
But as we know, becoming a great leader is a journey. And often we aren’t all given the opportunity through our work to develop these skills or manage a team. Shifting from mentee to playing the role of mentor can be an opportunity for people to not only share their advice and wisdom but also further develop their leadership and management skills, gaining much-needed confidence in the process as well.
Mentors, it’s time to encourage your mentees to leap forward.
“The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves”– Steven Spielberg
At Mentorloop, we are always overwhelmed with the willingness of people wanting to become mentors. It’s a common misconception that when launching a program, people fear they won’t have enough mentors, however, we often see more mentors signing up for our clients’ programs.
This is for a couple of reasons. Firstly, mentoring has evolved from the traditional hierarchical relationship, where mentors are purely defined by ‘years of experience’. Now, mentorship is centred around a problem you are looking to solve or a specific goal you are looking to achieve. Therefore, someone who is younger than you might, in fact, have the expertise or knowledge you are looking to connect with. Secondly, when given the choice to be a mentor, mentee or both – most people chose both.
However, while people might have the intention of one day being a mentor, sometimes we lack the confidence to make the leap.
“A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you”– Bob Proctor
This is where some encouragement from our mentors could help. We all have something to offer, so having a mentor that can help articulate what this is and how this could be useful to someone else is sometimes the little push we need to make the transition from mentee to mentor – it’s the circle of life!
It’s time to make your move…
Whether you are looking for help or looking to help someone, now is the perfect time to start a mentoring relationship. If you know who you want to approach, we’ve put together a useful guide on how to take the awkwardness around asking someone to be your mentor.
If you’re struggling to articulate how mentorship could help you, either as a mentor or mentee, think about it in the context of building out your own personal advisory board. That way, it will open your eyes up to the possibility of playing both roles and challenging some of your bias in terms of how you see yourself and mentorship.
If you’re ready to take the leap, you’re welcome to join our Mentoring Marketplace – a free space for busy professionals to connect with peers. Find out more about it today and get mentoring!