Following my post about the joys of being mentored, it led to some stimulating responses in various LinkedIn groups about how business undervalues mentoring. Here are some of the comments:

I strongly believe that to be an excellent mentor one has to experience how it feels to be a mentee. I think that by being a mentee makes me a much better mentor.  The more business owners have access to mentoring the more they will see the benefits hence will be more motivated to do the same themselves.  Simply just raising the profile of mentoring is absolutely key.” Agnes Cserhati, award-winning professional entrepreneur coach and business mentor

All businesses need mentors I believe and everyone in life needs a mentor/s as well. We all have people in our lives that have been like a mentor to us but often people do not notice it. I am grateful to all the mentors throughout my life!” Katrina Calvin, social entrepreneur

The need for business mentoring is particularly needed in the current economic situation, especially among recent graduates looking for entry-level positions. There is a clear need for career progression and development, i.e. moving beyond securing a job placement role.  Honestly, I don’t think employers value the importance of business mentoring due to the high turn-over of employees and staggering rate of unemployment. An emphasis on graduate development programs by employers is not enough to nurture new talents especially when too much focus is placed on educational qualifications and less on equipping graduates with the required skill sets to excel in a given work environment or industry. Although it might be argued that one leads to another, business productivity will definitely benefit from mentoring.  Augustus Chinedu Emenogu, Young Leaders and International Student mentor

The Personal Benefits of Mentoring

So, how can mentoring help your business?  Undoubtedly, the personal benefits are numerous. I ran a workshop to develop the mentoring skills of people at all levels of an organisation. They exchanged stories about how they had benefited at different life and career stages. Here are some of their descriptions of the positive behaviours and impact that had left a lifetime impression upon them:

  • Acted as a mirror – Step change in my growth as a person, a long-term impact
  • Challenged me, gave honest feedback – Enabled me to take ‘criticism
  • Gentle guidance, helped me refocus – Stopped repeating unhelpful behaviours
  • Shoulder to lean on – Increased personal confidence
  • Opened my mind up to what I could do for myself – Ownership and motivation, I wouldn’t be where I am today, I decided to stay
  • Invested time in me, always available – I felt more valued
  • Genuinely there for me, no conflicts of interest, an equal – I became open to future mentoring
  • Set example, imparted his perspective – I made different decisions, identified and seized opportunities

The Business Benefits of Mentoring

  1. A low-cost/high-value investment and contribution to economic growth (for your biz and the nation).
  2. Promotes a focus on people and the value of lifelong learning.
  3. Uses people more effectively to realise real potential.
  4. Saves money from less staff turnover.
  5. Improves employee engagement and retention.
  6. Helps with succession planning and growing talent.
  7. Identifies risks and averts potential crises.
  8. Reduces the burden on busy line managers and other support roles.
  9. Provides personal and professional development for mentors, adds to their skill-set and enhances job satisfaction.
  10. Mentoring is a business success factor as it improves individual performance.

Do you mentor people in your business?  If you do, what difference has it made?  If not, what stops you?