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What Great Leaders Gain from Mentorship

Did you know that Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, three preeminent figures in philosophy, literature, and science throughout history, were connected through a continuous thread of mentorship? Socrates mentored Plato, who mentored Aristotle, linking three of history’s greatest minds together through the powerful tool of mentorship. Mentoring is an impactful development practice that dates back centuries and is founded on reciprocity and connection. 

The exchange of knowledge and support fosters mutual growth and strengthens the bonds between mentors and mentees, creating a collaborative and enriching learning experience. Mentees benefit from personalized guidance, gaining insights, honing skills, and cultivating confidence, ultimately experiencing significant professional and personal growth. As mentors broaden the mentees’ perspectives, challenging their assumptions, and guiding them through experimentation and problem-solving, they too develop their leadership skills.  

In this article, we explore the value gained from mentorship, outlining how being a mentor or mentee drives both personal and professional growth. 

Mentorship builds core leadership skills

Mentoring enhances leadership skills among mentors and mentees, including problem-solving, communication, and self-awareness. In a recent study, a 7-month long formal mentoring program aiming to develop and prepare employees for leadership roles in nine companies increased the mentor's transformational leadership (where the mentor fosters significant change in the mentee). By refining individual capabilities and nurturing strengths, mentoring drives leadership development. 

Mentoring drives career growth and development

Mentoring can lead to career growth and development for both the mentee and the mentor by improving communication, decision-making, problem-solving, and overall leadership effectiveness. The mentee is challenged, pushed out of their comfort zone, gains knowledge and career guidance, expands their thinking, becomes more goal-oriented, and advances their career.  

The mentor gains relational skills, competencies, technical expertise, enhanced reputation, managerial skills, and leadership capacity.  A study conducted on Fortune 1000 companies revealed that executives who had been mentored achieved higher earnings at a younger age, possessed superior education, were more inclined to adhere to a career plan, and eventually mentored more mentees compared to executives without mentoring. Mentoring also enables senior employees to cultivate interpersonal skills that can advance their career progression into a managerial role. 

Mentorship expands a leader's network  

As a mentor or mentee, you will benefit from broadening your network. Data shows that mentor-driven introductions lead to lasting connections. Identifying the right networking opportunities offers mentees the exposure and visibility they need for career advancement and professional development. Mentoring also improves networking skills, reduces feelings of isolation, and increases socialization, self-esteem, and confidence.

Mentoring drives business and societal impact

As a mentor, you create a lasting impact. As the mentor invests time and effort to shape the mentee’s development, the mentee will carry forward the mentor’s teachings and guidance, creating continuous impact. 

Mentoring is also impactful in an organizational context, as it increases loyalty, satisfaction, fulfillment, and commitment to the organization. In fact, more than 70% of Fortune 500 companies offer mentoring programs to their employees. This results in improved retention rates and heightened productivity, making mentoring a key competency to have in organizations.

Mentoring encourages continuous learning

Mentoring creates a space for learning through self- and critical reflection. While the mentee reflects on their journey to identify areas for improvement, the mentor examines their approaches and challenges their assumptions to drive more effective strategies. 

Mentoring also leads to discovering and validating new perspectives and ideation. For the mentee, this means expanding their horizons and fostering adaptability and innovative thinking. For the mentor, it allows testing new methodologies and learning from the mentee’s experiences and viewpoints.     

Mentoring is valuable to anyone who strives to continuously learn and grow. From philosophers to prominent business leaders, there are no shortage of references to leaders who consistently acknowledge the profound influence of their mentors. Richard Branson cites the importance of his mentor Sir Freddie Laker in helping him through his struggle to get his company off the ground. Branson expressed that he “ wouldn't have got anywhere in the airline industry without the mentorship of Sir Freddie Laker”.

Mentoring requires work and investment from both the mentor and mentee for both individuals to derive these aforementioned benefits from mentorship. This intentional approach to relationship building requires trust, commitment, and rigorous efforts from both the mentor and the mentee. Get in touch to learn more about our mentoring services, and download our brochure to start improving core leadership skills.


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