Guru, Counsel, Guide, Lead, Tutor, Teacher – there are many words to describe a mentor who can guide you through different walks of life. The dictionary meaning of a mentor is an experienced and trusted advisor, and the importance of a guiding light cannot be underestimated in life and business alike.
The Hindi proverb “Guru kumhar shish kumbh hai, ghadhi ghadhi kadhe khot, andar hath sahar de, bahar bahe chot ” comes to mind. This roughly translates to: a “Guru” is like a potter, hitting to shape the object from the outside, but supporting with love from the inside. Throughout history, there have been well-documented cases of appreciation of mentors and dedication towards.
This dedication and trust deployed in mentors should translate in similar terms in business.
What Mentors Do
In a professional setting, the role of mentors is quite significant. There is no fixed and detailed job description set in stone for mentors but essentially, mentors help with the following:
- First and foremost, the role of a mentor is to foster a relationship with the mentee, which clears up the dynamic of the relationship for everyone.
- Help support ideas and innovation, guiding to bridge gaps between ideas, inventions, and their commercialization.
- Assuring impactful development activities for the mentee.
- Modelling effective leadership behaviour.
- Last but not least, guiding, teaching, inspiring, and motivating the mentee.
When it comes to the mentors in a workplace or a business alike, the main objective will essentially be to improve the professional life and to some extent, the personal life of the mentee. Ideally, when the words “teacher or mentor” are uttered, the image in your head is of an older person. Traditionally, the mentor and mentee relationships have seen seniors guiding the less experienced. However, the year is 2019, technological advancements are fast-paced and sometimes reverse mentoring is needed as well. Many corporates have implemented reverse mentoring programs wherein young employees help their more elderly counterparts to get acquainted with the technology they haven’t had the exposure to yet.
Mentors: Why they matter
A compilation of 43 comparative psychological research papers by SAP Success Factors between mentored and non-mentored employees disclose some contrasting career trajectories. On just an objective level, the career advantages for mentored employees were many, such as:
- Receiving higher monetary compensation.
- Having a higher career progression i.e. Promotions.
- Higher career satisfaction and commitment towards the job.
In addition to the benefit to the mentees, fostering mentorship based relationships in business has many benefits for the organization themselves. Organizations, where mentorship relations were being inculcated, reported lower percentages of people wanting to switch jobs. This is not just a random assumption but it has been proven with a survey conducted with 1300 soldiers of the US Army, reporting a 38% decrease in chances of a turnover. Stats reported that even incorporate setups, that harbouring a mentor-mentee relationship helped bring down the intention to turnover (5.6) and actual turnover (7.8). It is, therefore, no surprise that seed accelerators like ourselves, at India Accelerator, emphasize on providing an exceptional network of mentorship to all businesses seeking guidance.
In the words of Oprah Winfrey, “A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself”.