Updated: Jul 27
“Mentoring is to support and encourage people to manage their own learning in order that they may maximise their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance and become the person they want to be.” – Eric Parsloe, the Oxford School of Coaching and Mentoring
My mentor played a crucial role in my college experience, especially when it came to identifying my future career trajectory. Meeting with and learning from her truly shaped me and helped form my future. Every single time we met she was intentional about recalling and exploring the small details of my life that I previously shared with her. I will always consider her a friend.
Based on my experiences with my own mentor, in this article I will share three tips for ensuring a successful mentorship relationship. My hope is that it helps equip you to build and sustain this type of relationship in your professional life.
1. Exchange Perspectives, Knowledge, and Resources
In order for both parties to get the most out of the mentorship, it should be a two-way exchange of perspectives, knowledge, and resources.
It would be easy for both people to assume that the older, more experienced individual has the most to contribute. But that’s simply not the case. Both parties bring unique talents, experiences, and perspectives to the table that should be explored in the mentorship relationship.
Yes, the less experienced individual will learn from the experiences and expertise of the more experienced individual. But when you're more experienced, you can sometimes get loaded down, burned-out, or forget your true purpose. In this case, you can really benefit from the energy and fresh perspectives a younger employee can bring to your organization.
By nurturing a generationally diverse relationship, you create more opportunities for collaboration and innovation in your workplace. Mentorship gives people the opportunity to grow alongside each other, share their own personal experiences, and give each other resources to help them reach their full potential in life and within the organization.
2. Push Each Other to Learn New Skills and Get Out of Your Comfort Zones
Research shows that 87% of mentors and mentees feel empowered by their mentoring relationships and have developed greater confidence.
It can be an exciting thrill to learn new things and get out of your comfort zone, and a mentorship can offer a safe and stable place to do just that. It can challenge both those who are just starting their careers or those who have worked in an industry for years.
Also, nurturing a mentorship relationship can help build your network and meet more people – the kind of people who can influence you and offer guidance in a time of need.
3. Set Concrete and Specific Goals for Each Other
One of the most important things that you can do for mentorship is to set goals. This helps you keep your mind focused and gives you something to work for.
Together with your partner, take some time to think about the areas where you want to grow and develop in the future. Perhaps you want to learn how to successfully lead and engage a team. Or maybe you want to learn how to write or produce online content in a way that engages a younger audience.
Make sure you don’t set vague goals, though. Be concrete and specific. This will give you both an idea of what accomplishment looks like and what kind of success you want to achieve through the mentorship.
Then, once you’ve determined your goals, write them down where you both have access to them. According to research, people are 40% more likely to achieve their goals if they write them down. But this number increases to 70% if the goals are shared with someone to keep them accountable, such as a mentor.
Then, throughout the mentorship, make sure you take time to review your goals and check your progress.
If you make the strategic decision to invest in mentorship in your organization, it won’t take long for you to see and feel the impact. Mentors and mentees can both play an essential role in the development of community and connections in your workplace, and bringing employees closer together can set your organization up for long-term success.
Mikenna Ford is a Communication and Marketing Intern at ROI Talent Development who one day aspires to have a career in training and development. Mikenna is currently a Senior at Lubbock Christian University where she studies organizational communication. She loves cats, plants, and traveling. You can contact her at email@example.com.