There is a saying that “experience is the best teacher”. This saying is often abused by people who do not understand the importance of mentorship. There is no part of that saying that states that you must learn from your own experience. Who says you cannot learn from the experience of other people?
Learning from other people’s experiences could save you a lot. One of such is experiencing setbacks or failures on a consistent basis. It will also help you scale growth. You will be opportune to get things right on your first attempt without having to take the “trial and error” route.
There are various ways to learn from other people’s experiences. People simply hear stories of how someone else succeeded or failed and learn from them. You can either avoid things that made them fail or embrace what made them succeed. However, there is a method that is proven to help you succeed. It is known as “mentorship:”. Unlike the self-taught method, mentorship involves a direct coaching and guidance method.
To understand how mentorship is crucial to success, you need to understand mentorship itself. Let’s start by looking at what mentorship entails.
What is Mentorship?
Mentorship is a guidance-based relationship between two or more people. It involves a more experienced or advanced individual guiding a less experienced or junior individual. The purpose of mentorship is for sharing knowledge, experience, and connection over a period of time. The more experienced individual who is the “mentor” provides the necessary guidance to the junior individual who is the “mentee”. Mentorship may include educational or professional guidance.
For the purpose of clarity, here are the components of mentorship:
- Mentor – an experienced individual who is a specialist in an industry or sector.
- Mentee – a less experienced individual seeking to take on the industry or sector.
- Guidance – connections, knowledge, or connection that the mentor provides the mentee in a mentorship program.
Types of Mentors
With knowledge of the meaning of mentor, let’s get a better understanding of mentorship by looking at the different types of mentors. Knowing the types of mentors will also help guide mentees on how to use mentorship to their advantage and increase their chances of succeeding. Without much ado, here are the different types of mentors as well as the roles they play in mentorship programs.
A coach is arguably the oldest type of mentor. Parents are great examples of coaches. Good coaches encourage mentees, listen to them and help them provide solutions to certain problems. Unlike your parents, however, your mentorship coach should be someone whose expertise covers your career, education, or the area with which you will require mentorship.
The Professional Leadership Institute provides training on conducting performance reviews and offers a free preview.
Connector or Broker
There is a saying that “success happens when opportunity meets preparation”. This implies that opportunity is important for success. Even if you are prepared, you may likely not succeed if you do not get the right opportunity. In this regard, a connector or a broker is very important for your mentorship. Connectors or brokers are individuals who have large networks of people and derive joy from connecting people together.
Brokers are very important for mentees as they can help link mentees with people who need their products, services, as well as help mentees, scale their careers. One important thing to note is that brokers or connectors do not request payment to connect people. They genuinely desire to connect people together. This is probably why they have a large network.
Oftentimes, mentees can get confused about certain issues. This could be due to their inexperience or inadequacy in knowledge or expertise. With the help of a clarifier, mentees can benefit greatly from a clarifier. A clarifier uses the laisse affaire approach to mentorship. Mentees act independently and in their desired direction. They only need to consult a clarifier to help them fill in gaps whenever they are confused or lack direction.
A clarifier seems very similar to a coach. Unlike a coach, however, a clarifier hardly influences the directions of mentees. They mostly provide tips like how to act in a meeting or during an interview.
There is a saying that goes “celebrate your little wins, for they show you how far you have come”. Well, nothing makes a celebration even better than someone better than having someone join you in celebrating. This is why every mentee needs a cheerleader. A cheerleader is not exactly a professional per se. A cheerleader is often someone that is always there to celebrate your achievements with you.
This may not seem much, but it actually works. A study shows that more than 50% of people are eager to achieve more when people celebrate their achievements with them.
While it is good to achieve, it is more important to not become too comfortable after an achievement. There have been multiple cases of individuals who become too laid back after achieving “some” level of success. Despite not being able to achieve their long-term goals, some individuals may become too comfortable with their situation and no longer strive to achieve more. This is where a challenger comes in.
A challenger literally jolts a mentee to do more. This involves working with the long-term and short-term goals laid out with the help of a mentee. With these goals in hand, the challenges encourage the mentee to keep pushing to accomplish the set goals.
The developer is quite similar to the challenger. However, the major difference is that the developer challenges the mentee to improve himself or herself. While the challenger works towards achieving goals, the developer leans towards becoming a better person and a better professional. They can provide the mentee with books on personal development or how to develop the right values. Developers are often human resource or human capital development experts. They understand how to groom people to become leaders by empowering mentees with the necessary skills to enable mentees to solve their problems independently.
While it is important to have a mentor that will help you as a mentee inculcate healthy professional habits, it should not stop there. Mentees also need protection or protectors. Protectors are mentors who guide mentees against making mistakes that will be detrimental to the growth of their careers. A protector also acts as a safety net to ensure that mentees do not have to learn from costly experiences. Protectors are often industry experts that understand the regulations of a sector.
Different Types of Mentorship
Okay, this is where things can start looking confusing. To ensure clarity, do refer to the three components outline earlier in this article. There are different types of mentors as well as different types of mentorship programs. The different types of mentors can participate in the different types of mentorship programs. For better under, let’s consider the different types of mentorship programs.
This is arguably the oldest form of mentorship. Little wonder why experts call it “traditional mentorship”. In this form of mentoring, the mentee and mentor are matched to each other to work together on a “one-on-one basis”. This matching can either be done through a mentoring program, referral from a third party, or any other method. However, the major takeaway is that the two of them are the only people involved in the mentoring process. The mentoring process is mostly decided by the progress made by the mentee.
Unlike one-on-one mentorship, group mentorship often involves more than one mentee. In other words, two or more mentees can be attached to a mentor for guidance. Group mentorship is often a result of mentorship programs. However, there have also been cases of referrals leading to group mentorship. In the case of group mentorship, the progress of the group is often determined by the mentor. This is hardly a problem, considering that the mentor considers the progress of his mentees.
Distance mentorship is not exactly new. However, it is not a very old form of mentorship. In times past, distance mentorship often involves the mentee traveling or relocating to the location of the mentor. Thanks to the help of technology, however, mentees no longer have to travel for distance mentorship. Distance mentorship is now called “Virtual Mentorship”. Mentors can connect with their mentees with technological devices like a phone, computers, etc.
Reverse or Team Mentorship
Team mentorship is also another form of mentorship that is relatively new. It can be considered as the reverse of group mentorship. Instead of one mentor working with two or more mentees, it will be a team of mentors working towards ensuring the success of just one mentee. It often involves the combined efforts of the different types of mentors mentioned earlier to ensure team mentorship.
Another thing to consider is that mentorship is broken into two broad types. This includes “formal and informal” mentorship. All the types of mentorship stated above could be either formal or informal in nature. Below are the differences between formal and informal leadership.
- Formal mentorship – has a laid down structure and is organized by people who have the required knowledge and expertise.
- Informal mentorship – does not have a laid down structure. It is organized by people who have goodwill, with often little or no expertise.
For the records, no type of mentorship is actually better than the other. The various types of mentorship all have their pros and cons. The only way to make the most of any mentorship program is to work with the approach that suits you the most.
What to Consider When Choosing a Mentorship Program
A study shows that 97% of young professionals say they are valuable, yet only 37% of them have a mentor. This shows that something is wrong with people’s attitude to mentorship. Many of them do not understand how to apply particularly to them. Some of them do not know that there are mentors who are non-directional or uninfluential in nature. They do not know about connectors or clarifiers.
Before engaging in a mentorship program or getting a mentor, there are certain things to consider. The extent to which you consider these things will determine if the mentorship will help you succeed. Without proper consultation of these factors, the chances of making the most of the mentorship are very slim. Below are some of the things you should consider when choosing a mentorship program.
Purpose of Mentorship
The first question you as a mentee should ask yourself is “why do I want to partake in this program?” Answering this question is the first step towards ensuring the success of your mentorship program. Some mentorship programs are limited to a period of time while others continue for literally a lifetime. Understanding the purpose of the mentorship program will also help you identify the other issues mentioned below.
Value Proposition of Intended Mentors
With a proper understanding of the purpose of the mentorship program, next is the value proposition of the intended mentors. What are the values your intended mentors will be bringing to mentoring you? It is important to remember that the value proposition of a mentor defines the role they will be playing in mentoring you. A connector is bringing the value proposition of networking, while the coach will be advising you.
After considering their value proposition, match it against the level you have attained in your career. If their value proposition does not fit into the level of your career, then it is best you do not partake in that particular mentorship program.
Knowledge and Expertise of Mentors
Besides the value proposition of your mentors, you should consider their knowledge and expertise. Certain types of mentorship require experts and specialists, while others simply require regular individuals with a network, goodwill, or the love for helping people. Every factor should be matched against the stage of your career as a mentee. If you are just starting out, a directional and influential mentorship should suit you better.
The Stage of the Mentee’s Career
Let’s just say that I saved the best for last. The stage at which you are as a mentee should be the deciding factor for every other thing stated earlier. This is because the stage where you are in your career decides which form of mentorship works well for you. There are certain stages of your career where you need a mentor to spoon-feed you. At this stage, the mentee is still growing. If you are in the latter stages of your career, you need more clarification and networking.
Reasons Why Mentorship is Crucial to Your Success
Statistics show that 89% of individuals who have been mentored go on to mentor others. This shows how important mentorship is very important for success. Talking of success, that 89% of mentees end up becoming mentors of other mentees. In other words, at least 89% of people who had mentors become successful later in life. If you are still in doubt, below are some reasons why mentorship is crucial to your success.
Increases Chances of Scaling Educational and/or Vocational Growth
One thing that mentor helps to ensure your success is by helping you scale growth. As you work with your mentor, they study you and understand your strength and weaknesses. With knowledge of your strength and weaknesses, your mentors help you improve yourself and scale growth. Although you may have been able to grow without the help of a mentor, it will not be at a fast pace. Mentorship is crucial to your success as it helps you scale your personal and professional growth. Mentors like coaches, challengers, clarifiers, and developers will help you grow at an astonishing pace.
Adequate Provision of Support
One of the advantages of mentorship is that you will not feel like you are on your own. Mentors like cheerleaders will always be there to support and encourage you when you win. You will also have developers and challengers who will always be there to provide you with the necessary support and challenges. Their impact will always be there to spur you on and give that much-needed sense of communion. Research shows that most people are most likely to continue a difficult process if they are working with others than if they are working alone.
Better Professional Network
Remember the saying that “success happens when opportunity meets preparation”? Well, that saying comes to play in mentorship. Mentors like connectors or brokers will help you connect to the people who require your products, service or can help you scale your growth. With the help of the right mentors, you can build your own network. After a broker connects you to a professional that needs your service or product, you have the opportunity of scaling growth.
You will win the people who your mentor refers to you over when you perform adequately. Keep up with maintaining your good reputation and you will be able to build your own network in no time. If you already have your own network, your mentor can help you broaden it. Who says that having a bigger network is bad? Besides, you can always become a mentor and help a mentee grow their network by bringing them into your network.
Mentorship is crucial to your success. You can effectively use mentorship if you consider the factors stated in this article. More importantly, the factors stated in this article will also help guide you
Professional Leadership Institute (PLI) is an educational website providing professionals from all types of businesses with practical education in human resources and leadership.
Check out our other helpful articles:
- Building a New Habit Using Your Personal Development Plan https://www.professionalleadershipinstitute.com/resources/building-a-new-habit-using-your-personal-development-plan/
- How to Handle Difficult Coaching Conversations with Under Performers https://www.professionalleadershipinstitute.com/resources/how-to-handle-difficult-coaching-conversations-with-under-performers/
- How to be a Great Coach to Your Team and Business https://www.professionalleadershipinstitute.com/resources/how-to-be-a-great-coach-to-your-team-and-business/