The impact of mentors: A two-way street for leadership development

When Karen reflects on her three-decade-long career, she recognises a common thread woven through her success story: the unwavering support and belief of mentors who guided her journey. Like most of us, Karen had people who believed in her at key points in her career, more than she believed in herself at that time. A mentor plucked her from relative obscurity and recommended her for a role a couple of levels above where she was operating. They could see something in her she had not yet tapped into. She surprised herself to discover their faith in her was well placed.

This observation is not unique to Karen; research data consistently emphasises the invaluable role of mentorship in professional development. In fact, 75% of executives say mentorship was critical to their career development, according to a survey by the American Society for Training and Development.

Karen’s story is not an isolated experience. Most leaders I have met will credit their success to the guidance of mentors who believed in them during pivotal moments in their careers.

It’s one thing to be on the receiving end of the benefit of mentorship. But it is a two-way street. The mentor imparts wisdom and experience, while the mentee brings fresh perspectives and innovative ideas. The exchange fosters learning and development for both parties involved.

Paying it forward is how we repay the debt of gratitude to mentors who have gone out on a limb to invest their reputation in supporting us. Karen, inspired by her mentors, is now supporting individuals she believes in. She also gets as much out of it as she puts into it. The ripple effect of mentorship builds improved leadership capabilities, enhanced teamwork, and a positive work culture.

The data suggests companies that invested in their people with mentoring programs did much better than those who did not, following the pandemic. Companies with mentoring programs had profits that were 18% better than average, while those without mentoring programs had profits that were 45% worse than the average.

🙋‍♀️ What’s your experience of the value of investing in mentoring? 🙋

Best regards, Brian