Today we have a guest post by Leah Shmerling from Crown Coaching about the importance of the mentor-mentee relationship. 

Who is a mentor?

A mentor is an experienced role model and trusted adviser who offers their knowledge and experience, and provides advice to guide and support the mentee during their professional career journey. The goal of mentoring is to assist mentees to improve themselves through skill and professional development to advance their career. Effective mentoring focuses on the needs of the mentee.

A mentor can be from the same industry, an employee from the organisation, or an industry network group. Importantly, the mentor will require personal attributes that facilitate the relationship, and be well matched to the mentee’s needs and personality type.

How can mentors benefit career development?

The mentoring relationship is built on mutual trust, respect and communication to empower the mentee to progress within their role, and set goals for professional development.
The mentoring journey commences by establishing goals – both long and short-term goals that the mentee sets for him or herself. The long-term goal is the larger goal such as: attaining a job and successfully transitioning into the organisation, or obtaining a promotion. Short-term goals are a series of milestones that form a step-by-step approach to attain the long-term goal. For example, to attain the stated long-term goals, it may entail writing and developing a résumé or LinkedIn profile, or assisting with interview skills.

The mentoring process provides support for the mentee’s development that includes:

  • examining professional issues that impact on the mentee
  • obtaining exposure to new ideas and ways of thinking
  • advising on developing strengths and overcoming weaknesses
  • guiding professional development and career advancement
  • developing new skills and knowledge
  • obtaining recognition within the organisation.

The mentoring relationship is not a modern fad. Historically, individuals learnt through older members who passed their knowledge and insight whilst in the workplace. Patiently, the mentor provided the time and energy to serve as the teacher and overseer of the mentee. Mentoring is a fundamental process of human development. The benefits of mentoring are recognised for all parties: the mentee, the mentor, and the organisation.

How can mentoring make a difference?

A mentee may be inexperienced and seeking to enter the industry, or experienced and seeking support to attain a promotion, or to identify their next step. Mentors will provide valuable advice and encourage new perspectives, address workplace challenges to assist mentees to attain career goals and succeed, and improve their professional practice with new knowledge and skills. The mentoring process encourages continuous improvement through the ongoing relationship with the mentor. The mentor assists the mentee to develop their skills and expertise, and respond to industry challenges.

It is a privilege to professionally and personally share the development of a mentee’s career. Offering wisdom and support is a gift that mentors can make that will influence the mentee’s career and their life!

Leah Shmerling is the Director and Principal Consultant of Crown Coaching and Training, and has over 30 years’ experience in career development, life coaching, education and training.

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