Albus Dumbledore and Harry Potter. Yoda and Luke Skywalker. Mickey Goldmill and Rocky Balboa. What do all these characters have in common? They’re prime examples of mentoring relationships.
Traditionally, a mentor is someone in a senior position who offers advice and guidance to more junior members of the team. Perhaps they see themselves in the recruit or recognise the potential talent that could be achieved. It’s often an informal relationship with one party taking the other ‘under their wing’.
That’s where National Mentoring Month comes in. Timed perfectly, the event runs every January and offers the opportunity for businesses to launch towards a successful year through mentoring.
At the month’s core lies three main objectives:
- Raise awareness of mentoring in all its forms
- Inspiring more people to become mentors
- Encouraging organisations to run mentoring programmes
If you’re wondering why you should celebrate national mentoring month, let’s take a look at some of the benefits. From a more general perspective, January is a time when many employees are struggling with motivation and getting back into the work routine after the Christmas break. Working collaboratively with a mentor can help a team member set positive goals for the upcoming year, which ultimately benefits the organisation as a whole.
Benefits to the mentee
- Increased confidence
- Increased self-awareness
- Job satisfaction
- Likelihood of promotion
- Loyalty to their company
- Mental health in being supported by someone and advocated for
- Learn to ask good questions and not being afraid to ask
And the best thing? 89% of those who have been mentored will go on to mentor others and so create this cycle of learning and development.
Benefits of being a mentor
- Rewarding seeing someone achieve
- Reaffirms individual abilities leading to a confidence boost
- Increased chance of promotion
- Exposure to new ways of thinking
- Communication skills
- Job satisfaction
- Loyalty to their company
- Fulfilment at work
- Leadership skill development
How to Implement Mentoring
Now we’ve established the multiple benefits of mentoring, you’re probably eager to find out some ways to get involved. Luckily, we’ve put together some key actionable steps you can take:
Start a mentoring programme
Easier said than done right? There’s actually a myriad of ways you can go about establishing a mentoring programme.
The first would be pitching the idea to your organisation. This route requires a lot of statistics like 71% of Fortune 500 companies use a mentoring programme and 67% of businesses reported an increase in productivity due to mentoring. You get the picture but just be prepared to arm yourself with some serious stats, a game plan of what you’d like to see achieved and the rest can be history.
Another idea would be simply trying to gauge from your team who would be interested in such a programme and even have a quick pre-analysis of potential mentor and mentee matches.
Find yourself a mentor
As we said earlier, a new year represents new goals and if you feel a mentor will help you achieve them, finding one is naturally the next step. But how to do it?
- Determine what your objectives are. Why will a mentor help you? What do you want to achieve?
- Identify someone you respect and admire.
- Put in the ground work and reach out to your desired mentor.
- Assess the chemistry. Ask a question and see if their teaching style is something that fits you.
Reminder, it’s not a one-way relationship and it’s a partnership that will help to bring the best out of each other.
Become a mentor
As Joe Biden said, “we all benefit from the support, wisdom and nurturing of mentors who navigated the path before us.” Being a mentor is highly rewarding and if employees feel they’d be in a position to help others, it’s definitely worth it. The easiest way to become a mentor is reaching out to the HR department to find out if any mentoring opportunities exist. If new members join your team, offer to show them the ropes.
Share your story
One easy way to get involved with National Mentoring Month is simply sharing your story. If you can’t become directly involved, why not tell everyone about your positive mentor story? We’ve all been exposed to some form of mentoring in our lives, whether it’s a family member, teacher or professional figure who shaped us into the people we are today. MENTOR, the organisation behind the month, are collecting stories here to inspire others to get involved.
National Mentoring Month concludes with a #ThankYourMentorDay social campaign on January 27th. On this day, people are encouraged to convey their thanks to the mentors in their life. This could be an endorsement on LinkedIn or a heartfelt post on Twitter using the hashtag. Equally if social media isn’t your speed, send a thank you note or a gift. Here at Virgin Incentives, we offer thousands of gift experiences that serve as the perfect way for you to thank a mentor. We believe that experiences create memories and are a fun and unique way to give something back to someone.