Who is your all-time favorite teacher? Most likely, it was someone who took a sincere interest in you and cared deeply about you. This mentor understood your goals and dreams, and did everything possible to help you attain them. You probably still remember his or her wise adages which you apply in your current professional role.
It’s unfortunate that for most working Americans, mentorship stops after high school or college graduation. As Gallup reported, “Schools alone can’t be the sole source of mentorship…We desperately need workplaces all over the U.S. to step up and offer mentors and internships on a scale like never before.” Here are three reasons to make mentoring a priority in your organization.
Mentors help mentees see ‘the forest through the trees.’ It’s inevitable to encounter challenges at every rank of any organization. Sometimes, those struggles hold employees back—they become hung up on what went wrong or are so intently focused on trying to solve one micro problem, that they cannot see the big picture and subsequent realm of solutions. Dale Carnegie said, “Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement.” Mentors help put setbacks into perspective and offer new ways of approaching challenges. Equally important, mentors positively reinforce what mentees are doing correctly by praising a job well done. Both actions are necessary to excel in all roles.
Mentoring programs drive employee engagement. Employee engagement is defined as the level at which employees are emotionally invested in, and focused on, creating value for their organizations every day. Employees with mentors are more likely to be emotionally invested in their organizations and focused on creating value. First, they know that their mentors genuinely care about their performance and want to see them reach their full potential. Secondly, the mentor-mentee relationship is a personally rewarding one that dives into the human heart which ultimately drives more engagement.
Also, mentees are more likely to share their weaknesses and challenges with mentors in an effort to improve. Don Clifton, the father of strengths psychology, discovered that while people’s weaknesses rarely develop, their strengths develop infinitely. Mentors, therefore, are a key ingredient to helping employees improve their strengths and become more engaged.
Mentored businesses survive more than those without mentorship. In a study conducted by the UPS Store, 88% of business owners said having a mentor to lean on is “invaluable.” Moreover, 70% of mentored businesses survive more than five years which is double the rate for non-mentored small businesses over the same period. Personally, I was ready to resign from a very challenging role early on in my career but did not, because of my sage mentor with whom I maintain a friendship today. My retention helped that organization grow sales by 18% year over year.
At Dale Carnegie Training, we know how critical coaching and mentorship are to performance improvement—it’s what we’re most passionate about. Check out our upcoming courses to determine where you would excel most.