Every individual, business and organization is looking for a competitive advantage. One way to help create a competitive advantage is to use mentor relationships. A colleague and I were having a conversation about previous relationships with mentors or relationships that could’ve been considered a mentor-type relationship. We agreed that we’ve both seen articles in the media recently that communicate a common theme. That there is a significant correlation between business mentorship and the survival rate of those businesses. Not to mention individual mentorship and professional advancement.
Many years ago when I finished my undergraduate coursework, finding a mentor was not as easy as it is today. Today offers many more options for finding a match. There are online services that connect local National and even global matches. For example, MicroMentor is just one example of an online service that allows you to create a profile, reach out to others and start mentoring. According to MicroMentor, the average communication time between mentor and mentee is about 12 hours of phone calls, advice given online or in-person meetings.
Mentoring doesn’t have to be a huge commitment and there are no rules or definitions as to exactly what is to take place. The relationships can take on many different forms.
In general the benefits include:
Better recruiting – mentoring leads to better recruiting and retention of employees for organizations or small working groups.
Engagement by employees – mentoring can spark appreciative coworkers who put in extra time and effort on their jobs. Many individuals report that they are more engaged, happier and productive when they are acting as either mentor or mentee.
Savings – there are no direct costs involved with mentoring and it is very easy to implement.
New attitude – an attitude pick-me-up is a byproduct to those that participated in mentor-mentee relationships.
New skills – many individuals who communicate with a mentor or a variety of mentors make fewer mistakes and often end up developing job-specific and leadership skills.
In general there aren’t any disadvantages to simply asking someone with more experience for advice. If a mentor relationship develops and they become a mentor, this may just be a win-win scenario for both parties.