How to Use Mentorships to Enable Personal and Professional Growth

Mentoring Blog - crop

Mentoring can have profound benefits for your team members and company culture. A truly effective mentoring relationship can help to create a positive discussion between mentor and mentee that helps team members grow at work, and learn how to manage stress in their personal and professional lives. In addition, mentoring builds the skills we need to grow in any area of our lives.

According to Forbes, mentoring is beneficial for participants and the overall organization. “Mentoring benefits an organization by improving job satisfaction and retention, and aids in the personal and professional development of the mentee.” The same article mentioned a Sun Microsystems study of mentoring, where the following results were seen:

  • Mentees were five times more likely to advance in pay grade, with mentors excelling beyond that.
  • Mentees were promoted five times more than others and mentors six times more.

Encouraging growth with mentoring

At DEFENDERS, we have always recognized the benefits of mentoring and worked to encourage those relationships, both formally and informally. A mentoring relationship provides benefits for both mentors and mentees and it has helped us support stronger, more successful team members

Cortney Mundy has been a valued DEFENDERS team member since 2012. She is currently the Director of Marketing Services and credits mentoring as playing a large role in her success.

In 2016, my leader pushed me into finding a mentor to help me with professional goals. Once I finally gave in and entered into that relationship, I was able to crush all of my development goals. I’ve been promoted to a higher level, I’ve gained more confidence in my ability to communicate and influence (not only my peers but also senior leaders), and I’ve been able to shift from an individual contributor mindset to more of a strategic thinker mentality.”

Mundy’s first official mentor relationship started in 2016. Since then, she has continued to engage in mentoring as both mentor and mentee, and encourages her colleagues to participate if given the opportunity. “A mentor gives you a person outside of your day-to-day routine to just talk to and bounce ideas off of,” Mundy says. It’s nice to get an outsider’s perspective.”

Having input from an individual whose only role is to help can be extremely beneficial from a growth perspective. “Regardless of whether you’re the mentor or the mentee, you’re both learning and growing,” says Mundy. “You’re both getting an opportunity to see a different perspective than your own.”

Whether your focus is on professional or personal growth, mentoring is an asset for any person wanting to reach new heights. 

5 Tips for improving the mentoring relationship

There is always room to grow. Whether you’re an executive leader or an entry-level team member, you can always improve yourself if you’re willing to learn and try new approaches to problem solving. Try the following tips to improve the mentoring relationship:

  1. Be open minded: Mundy recommends that both mentors and mentees need to remain open minded. To mentors, she says “you’re there to help your mentee grow, but it’s okay to learn with them at the same time.” To mentees, she suggests “listen and really apply the feedback you’re given. It’s the application that really helps you learn and develop.” Your willingness to learn from the process is what will make it most successful.
  2. Keep to a regular schedule: Life commitments sometimes make it difficult to adhere to a strict schedule. But, if you truly want to see results from the mentor relationship, you need to keep to regular meetings.
  3. Seek out a mentor who is different from you: Alternate perspectives help us grow. Conversations where we listen to differing opinions are the basis for problem solving and critical thinking. Choose a mentor who can offer a perspective that is different from your own if you truly want to see growth. 
  4. Be adaptable: Adaptability will help you find your way through even the most trying situations. Whether in personal relationships or the business world, adaptability is a true asset. Be flexible in your mentoring relationship and modify goals and objectives based on learning moments and changing goals. 
  5. Set clearly defined goals: Identify areas where you truly want to excel and outline what approaches you plan to take to get there. It’s easier to see growth if you have a measure of your progress. “Mentoring helped me hone in on my strengths and helped me understand how to utilize more in my current role,” Mundy says.

At DEFENDERS, we are always seeking ways to improve and we recognize the value offered by mentorships. Are you ready to grow?

Come join our team of growth-oriented learners!