No one is too old or too young to be involved in a mentorship program. Whether it’s a company-wide initiative or one proactive pairing who find themselves working well together, the benefits of mentors in business and in life cannot be understated.
Mentor-Mentee partnerships can come in many forms and no gap in age, gender, background, or experience (to some extent) can rule out the benefits.
In fact, sometimes a wider gap in these characteristics can make for a more productive partnership, as each person has more to learn from the other.
Also, just as no age gap is too wide for a mentorship, no one is ever too old to have their own mentor. You might be the CEO of a multinational institution and you could still reap the rewards of working closely with a trusted mentor – in fact, it’s highly recommended to continue learning once you’ve reached such heights.
To find a mentor or a mentee, your company may instil programs to pair people together, or you can seek out someone who suits you through networking and attending industry events like SME&E.
Your next mentor or mentee could be up on stage or in the crowd, you just don’t know until you try it.
So if you’re wondering what exactly those benefits of mentors are, check out the points below before signing up for our Auckland event in November!
BENEFITS FOR MENTEES
First, we’ll discuss how finding a mentor can support and develop the mentee. This is not an exhaustive list by any stretch, but it serves to explain the key pillars of a mentorship in the business world.
1. Grow Your Network
As an up-and-comer in your field, with the initiative to find a mentor, you’re already well on your way – you’ll want to touch base with as many experts and idols as you can get your hands on.
A great mentor will have ideally already touched those bases and will be able to recommend certain people to get in contact with. They may even be able to initiate the contact, making your life easier and smoothing out any awkward first interactions.
From here you can make connections that could land you future jobs or future mentors! The world is your oyster with a well-travelled mentor by your side.
2. Gain Feedback & Perspective
Without a mentor, inexperienced entrepreneurs can waste time – lots of it – floundering along without any proper guidance. They could keep forcing a project that has no hope, or give up on a promising one when things get tough.
With a mentor, you’ll receive encouragement and direction to keep you on the path to success.
Mentors can provide this direction based on their wealth of experience in similar situations and mentees can understand how things can work out without having to experience them first-hand.
BENEFITS FOR MENTORS
Equally important for any managers reading this: mentors benefit too! If you want to grow your top-end talent as well your lower-end, invest in them. Even the most experienced people gained their experience from systems, technologies, and people who existed in decades gone by. This means that the fresh-faced beginners entering the workforce can bring their own interesting perspectives to the mix.
1. Improve Communication and Technical Skills
One of the most important skills a business leader can have is communication. Working closely with someone far different from you is one of the best ways to learn how to communicate with them.
Mentoring someone of a different age or ethnic background from you can be great for understanding what motivates them, and the language they respond well and poorly to.
Not only this, the mentee will likely bring technological skills that weren’t fully understood when the mentor was growing up. Social media, digital marketing, and artificial intelligence are all examples of areas in which the mentee can become the mentor.
2. Sense of Pride & Satisfaction
There may be nothing more motivating for some mentors than to watch their mentee grow and succeed as a result of their mentorship. This can be extremely validating for mentors to know they’ve played a part in something new and exciting, and that they still have the skills required to succeed and pass on their knowledge.
As some business leaders age, their perspective may change to reflect on what they’re giving back to an industry that’s given so much to them – mentorships are one way they can do this.
BENEFITS FOR BUSINESS
As the mentor smiles upon the success of their mentee, their business, in turn, may be smiling upon the mentor.
By supporting a mentorship program within your business, you can cultivate a selfless community which values developing those below you. In this way, everyone works on a more even playing field and there is no ceiling to what employees and the business can achieve.
Google, for example, runs a global Summer of Code mentorship program each year which sees thousands of mentees and mentors paired together to welcome new contributors into open source software development.
The resulting 40 million lines of code can then be used by Google and businesses worldwide to improve their systems.
FIND YOUR NEXT MENTOR AT SME&E
Mentorship programs are one way to find your next mentor or mentee, but networking at industry events is another great strategy too.
Secure your tickets to the SME & Entrepreneur Festival in Auckland on November 8 & 9 2022, or one of our upcoming festivals in Wellington and Christchurch in 2023.
Virtual tickets start from $159, while entry level in-person tickets start at $299.