Mentors Make a Difference!   

Which of these stats surprise you? 

Dianne Ward image
by Dianne Ward, Dir. of Org. Dev.
  • According to a recent study, while more than 75% of professional men and women want to have a mentor, only 37% have one.  (Harvard Business Review
  • Mentees are 5X more likely to be promoted than those without a mentor (Gartner) 
  • 100% of U.S. Fortune 50 companies have mentoring programs. 
  • Companies with mentoring programs have 18% better profits than average, while those without have 45% worse profits

If we all agree that mentor partnerships are so critical, then why don’t more of these exist?  Great question! 

Here are the most common obstacles that I see, along with my suggestions to overcome these barriers: 

  1. The mentee may fear rejection, be concerned they will not live up to the mentor’s expectation, or even be worried about confidentiality. 
    • Address the underlying issue by having an open conversation and clarify expectations by both parties. 
  1. There is a perception that it takes too much time.  
    • This barrier is really saying “this is not worth the time I will invest”.   This partnership must be a worthwhile investment, one that produces benefits for both sides.  To get started, I recommend setting up several sessions in advance, with 30-to-60-minute sessions to get the ball rolling. 
  1. The mentor process seems confusing and unclear. 
    • In each session, there should be an agenda that outlines a targeted topic, focused goals, specific action items to be taken, and follow-up from the previous session. 

In our leadership programs, we create mentor partnerships for each participant.  The insight and wisdom of the mentor is invaluable.  We ask our mentors to support their mentees by discussing self-evaluation assessments and topics learned during the program.  By far, the most impactful conversations are the ones around goal setting for business goals and personal productivity improvements.  I ALWAYS see powerful results when strong mentor partnerships are in place. 

I am thrilled when both the mentee and mentor make the commitment that is required.  The mentors tell me that supporting their mentees is one of the most fulfilling parts of their role as a leader.   And the mentees share that these conversations give them the insights that enable them to achieve their goals.  This is truly a Win – Win!! 

If you currently do not have a mentor or a mentee, I ask you to consider creating this partnership.  If you need support with the ideas above, please reach out to us – we are committed to your success! 


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