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The Complete Guide to Mentorships

Two people at a table talking. One has read the complete guide to mentorships and is about to find their mentor.
Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash

Mentors are vital to success. From Elon Musk to Bill Gates to Oprah, world-class leaders have benefitted from mentorship. After all, getting to the top takes more than hard work and determination. It takes help. So without further ado, here is our complete guide to mentorships.

In the world of entrepreneurship, that means finding mentors who can help you identify opportunities early on and help you navigate any obstacles that arise when pursuing your dreams. 71% of Fortune 500 businesses realize this, and have implemented formal mentoring programs.

The Importance of Mentorship in Business

Mentors are crucial to the success of any business — particularly startups and young companies. Since most people don’t achieve their career and business goals, or even set goals in the first place, leaders face a real challenge in getting motivated, success-oriented employees.

This is why having a mentor who has already navigated those waters can make all the difference in the world. A mentor is there to offer guidance as you start out — whether it’s selecting the right business structure for your startup or providing feedback on your product or service — and then continue to provide support along the way as you grow your company into a successful enterprise.

The statistics back this up. As a study of 1,000 Sun Microsystems employees revealed:    

  • 25% of mentored employees had a salary grade change (compared with 5% of their non-mentored co-workers)  
  • 72% of mentees were retained (compared with 49% of employees who were not mentored)
  • Mentored employees were promoted 5X more often than those not in the program
  • Mentors received promotions 6X more often than their peers

With a mentor by your side, it’s easier to stay motivated throughout the ups and downs of starting up, especially during times when it may seem like everyone else is giving up on their business ideas. 

And with a little bit of guidance from your mentor (and maybe some coaching sessions), you can have faith that you’re doing everything possible to ensure success for you and your company long-term.

What Is a Mentor? What Does It Mean?

A mentor is someone who offers advice, encouragement, and support to another person or group while they are trying to achieve something difficult or challenging — usually something that the mentor has already achieved. 

In other words: A mentor helps someone else achieve greatness by sharing their own experiences and wisdom. By definition, mentorship involves two people: One provides knowledge, expertise, experience; the other absorbs this knowledge through listening attentively, asking questions when necessary—in essence becoming a “client” or “learner” — learning what he needs to know in order to grow further.       

A good mentor will be approachable both professionally and personally so that his/her advice can be effectively delivered within each individual’s context – this requires an empathetic ear as well as an open mind where one’s own experience is taken into account whilst seeking solutions that will work for each individual client/learner’s specific context (e.g., age, personality type).

How to Find a Mentor

Mentorship programs help people like you and me learn from the best.

But there’s a lot of confusion out there when it comes to what kind of mentoring is right for you, and how to find the right mentor.

With Intch, the AI-powered professional networking app, it’s easier than ever to find a mentor. After all, it can be challenging for busy professionals to find the time and energy to help others succeed.

But with Intch, that’s changing. Now you can easily find someone who is as motivated as you are to achieve your professional goals. And if they don’t have what it takes themselves, they can pass along their knowledge and experience in a way that benefits both parties.

Because so many people are looking for mentors – and because there is still such high demand – finding a mentor shouldn’t be too difficult right? Well…not quite! There are some things you should keep in mind before you start searching for someone who will become your mentor or guide you on the path towards achieving your next level.

What People Get Wrong

The biggest mistake people make when seeking a mentor is shooting too high.

Mentors are often too busy to invest their time in new projects. They have their own careers and businesses to run. They’re not going to drop everything just because you asked them to.

So, don’t ask them! Instead, find someone who can give you the benefit of their experience and wisdom. The person doesn’t have to be your boss or even in the same industry as you: all they need is more seniority than you and a willingness to share that knowledge with you.

That said, simply being more senior won’t guarantee that they have all the necessary skills or experience for mentoring effectively. So, what makes someone suitable as a potential mentor? 

Your potential mentors should be leaders within their organization or industry, with experience gained through building successful teams, delivering results, overcoming obstacles, and developing new products or services that customers value highly. In addition, they should also demonstrate:        

  • An understanding of what works well within their field     
  • An ability to see opportunities others miss     
  • A passion for improving people’s lives by making things happen

Done right, mentorship is the gateway drug to success. Mentorships should be about finding someone who will help you refine your skills, not necessarily give you a business card and send you on your way.

With Intch, today’s job seekers have a new and improved way to find their next mentor. Simply create a profile, add some information about yourself, and Intch will curate potential mentors for you. Similarly, mentors looking to give back can find promising up-and-comers to support.

Frederik Bussler

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