There comes a time when we need a guide in life, to help us through our journey where we often find ourselves standing on the cross road, confused on which way to go. At such a time you would need advice from a third person i.e a mentor.
We absorb the lessons learnt by our seniors making our path less complicated with fewer bumps based on the solution that they have to offer.
The mentors are the catalyst in the personal and professional growth of the mentee and help them achieve their goals by sharing their experience.
It is important to have a mentor at a workplace who can guide you through your goals and important career related decisions. Here we discussed the importance, pros and cons of mentoring at work below,
Why is Mentoring at work Important?
An organization has many skilled employees who have mastered their domain knowledge and it is important that this knowledge is shared and not restricted to just one person.
It is important for an organization to ensure that the masters share their knowledge to help the existing, as well as new employees, grow in their careers.
By implementing mentoring programs, a company is making sure that they are not dependent on one person because of the knowledge that they have but have other options in worst scenarios.
Mentoring programs also help in recruiting the right candidates and retaining the best in the industry by ensuring a positive motivated environment. Mentoring has now become the main tool for recruitment and retention as it gives the best results in productivity and job satisfaction.
How does Mentoring Work?
There are many juniors who at times need help in shaping up their career and making their mark in the company. Mentors with immense experience, knowledge and expertise help their juniors to set a path for themselves and achieve their goals.
Mentors will never make a decision on your behalf, they will help you analyze the positives and negatives of the situation, giving you in-depth analysis that will help you to decide what you want to do. It is important that you develop trust and a good channel of communication so that you can have faith on each other during the entire process.
Mentors benefit themselves as they get to learn a lot while guiding their juniors, at the same time mentoring also benefits the company as it makes sure that their employees are on the right track of growth.
Difference between Mentoring and Coaching:
There is a thin line of difference between mentoring and coaching. Mentoring is all about sharing knowledge about a particular domain in which the mentor has expertise. This expertise comes with experience and is more of a practical on-job training process. Coaching is sharing knowledge about processes to help the employee achieve its goals.
Coaching is not domain specific and is more of a general approach to guide an employee through the organization and their career growth. Mentoring helps in mastering the skills and knowledge for the domain.
What are the Benefits for Mentees?
You can experience the huge difference, as a mentee, it makes when you have a mentor. By listening to a mentor’s experiences and gaining knowledge from them you can achieve expertise in your domain. You can see the difference in the performances of an employee that is mentored.
It is a blessing in disguise for the company since the performance of the employee is directly related to the performance of the company. Following are the benefits that a mentee can experience
a. Exposure to the experienced world:
You get to sit with an experienced person and learn what and how they achieved their goals. You get to hear stories of their success as well as failures which give you a fair idea on how you should deal with a problem.
If you listen to your mentors keenly then you get a lot of exposure to new ideas which can be implemented to achieve your goals. Your way of attacking a problem gets a make-over and you are able to analyze and design a solution in an effective way. Mentors are the gates for a whole new world that you are yet to explore.
b. Strengths and Weaknesses:
It is human nature to know your strength but to ignore your weaknesses as it makes you feel powerless. But is that the case, shouldn’t we identify our weaknesses and transform them into strengths? Can we do this on our own with no one or need a mentor to guide us through the process? A mentor is like a mirror that will show you who you are rather than who you want to be. He or She will help you understand your strengths and weaknesses to help you grow on personal and professional level.
c. Increased Visibility and Recognition:
Mentors will help the mentees to get their share of recognition in the company. Your work will get highlighted as inturn your mentor’s effort will also get some limelight. You will have a better visibility than before because of your improved performance and not because of your mentor’s favour. One feels good when their efforts are acknowledged as it gives them the necessary push to do better.
d. With new information comes new skills:
As and when you climb the ladder of success you will need to work on your skills also. You need to keep reinventing with times and a mentor can help you do that. Having the expertise the domain you want to learn about, a mentor can share all the theoretical and practical knowledge on that subject.
He or she can help you get some hands-on training that can help you in mastering your new skill and improving your market value. It is important to work on your skills to ensure that you are on the path of success.
e. Improves Interaction:
Are you a reserved personality that feels isolated or lonely at your workplace? Having a mentor can solve your problem. If you have a mentor with whom you would have to interact on daily basis then you will shed your inhibitions faster and improve your communication skills. It is important to have interaction with your peers as you can share your stories and learn from each other.
Nowadays in a job description, you can see one requirement constant – Good communication skills. Every company is now looking for candidates who are confident in the way they speak and interact with others.
How does a Mentor Benefit from the Program?
The most important thing that a mentor gains from the program is a professional connection with the mentee. Even if the employee leaves the company, he or she remains in touch with their mentors, taking with them their goodwill and reputation.
As a mentor, you learn and improve your listening skills by making sure that you do address all the concerns and confusion that your mentee has with your experience and knowledge. You can improve your managerial skills in the process. By teaching others you will achieve confidence and job satisfaction.
A mentoring program can also help the mentors develop or brush up on their leadership skills giving them exposure based on how their mentee has improved in their career graph.
How does Mentoring Benefit an Employer?
A mentored employee will have higher productivity which will help the employer to grow in its industry. Having a mentor around a mentee will make fewer mistakes because of the advice and knowledge shared by the mentor.
Fewer mistakes will lead to on-time delivery of the project and hence, will cut off any additional cost to the company. This program or relationship will also help in increasing the job satisfaction amongst its employees which will result in a positive work environment. This will also help the employer to retain its existing employees and attract new ones to join the company.
Advantages of having a Mentor:
We have discussed on what a mentor can do to ensure that the employee is on the right track. We are also aware of how a mentoring program works and how it benefits employee, employer and mentor. Everything in the world comes with its own pros and cons. Let us discuss what are the benefits of having a mentor at work.
a. Trained easily:
If a new employee is appointed a mentor, then he or she becomes a “go-to” person for the mentee. If there is any confusion or hiccups then the mentor can guide through the process making it easy for the newcomer to get adjusted to the new company.
The productivity of the mentee increases as the time wasted on the hiccups is reduced. Also with easy access to a mentor’s experience, the process of understanding becomes faster in an efficient manner.
b. Sense of achievement:
A mentor will always acknowledge your work and give feedback on your progress. A mentee will always look forward to hear some positive words from his or her mentor which will give mentee a boost to do better with a sense of achievement.
A mentor at the same time will feel happy and content to know that their mentees are doing well in their domain. A mentor feels proud to experience the success of their juniors and there is a satisfaction that comes with this program. It is two way traffic and the program helps both of them to achieve at the same time.
Disadvantages of Mentoring Program:
A mentor and mentee as a team can help each other experience success for themselves and for the company. But every pro comes with a con and we need to be aware of it. Let us now discuss on possible disadvantages of a mentoring program
a. Rapport between the mentor and mentee:
As discussed before, it is important that a mentor and mentee share a bond of trust to make this program a success. They need to be on the same page and be in sync with the goals that they want to achieve.
If there is no coordination between mentor and mentee then this whole exercise will go down the drain with no positive outcome. A forced mentor will never help out a mentee making him or her feel unwelcomed in the project or company. What should be done in this case – change your partners!
b. Frustrated mentor will create frustrated mentee:
Everyone has their own pace of learning and developing. A mentor who is stubborn and has less patience will never be happy with a mentee who has a slow learning curve.
A frustrated mentor will end up having a frustrated mentee which will spoil the relationship and the goal of the program.
A mentor might feel that he or she is not capable of learning and the mentee might feel that he or she is not giving them the proper guidance that is required. What should be done in this case – change your partners!
Mentoring program is a win-win program for the organization. A mentee benefits from the program by learning new skills and improving their way of working to achieve their goals.
There is a sense of security to know that you have a “go-to” person with whom they can discuss and work out their problems.
A mentor also learns in this process and sharpens their skills to help them grow in their career. An organization gets high productivity from mentee and the mentor helping them to grow in the market.