The Power of Mentoring

Mentoring is a powerful tool for developing leadership talent and a positive way to improve the prospects of people from underrepresented groups. Healy Hunt supports and participates in mentoring schemes and we want to highlight the benefits for organisations, mentors and mentees.

Mentoring Benefits the Organisation

There is often talent lower down a company’s hierarchy that may be overlooked if proactive steps aren’t taken. This is where a mentoring programme can be so valuable. Many companies do this themselves, identifying specific traits, skills and aptitudes and then developing people to become best managers and leaders they can be. There is also external mentoring, potentially with a mentor from a different sector. Our diversity partners at Women in Banking and Finance run an excellent mentoring scheme for female mentees that Healy Hunt is involved with.

Mentoring can help to create a stronger company culture by encouraging knowledge sharing, forming positive links between different parts of the business and nurturing mutual understanding and respect. Mentoring programmes don’t just help to retain talented staff, they also help to keep knowledge within the organisation.

Benefits for the Mentee

Mentors can provide guidance, support, and encouragement as mentees navigate their personal and professional journeys. This can help mentees develop new skills, gain valuable knowledge, and to set and achieve new goals. Most people experience self-doubt in their careers, especially the thoughtful ones who have something to offer beyond leadership for leadership’s sake. A mentor can help overcome crises of confidence through positive reinforcement and acting as a sounding board for mentees to practise expressing and presenting their ideas. Exposure to a mentor helps make that person, and therefore other people operating at that level, more human and relatable as role models in the mentee’s eyes. 

Observing a seasoned leader in action also helps the junior professional develop soft skills like communication, negotiation, and problem-solving in a management context. A mentor can help by providing feedback on presentations, offering guidance on managing teams, and helping them navigate difficult conversations. In a business culture where promotion often automatically means management, this kind of preparation is invaluable.

“my mentor always supported me in not only thinking about what I can do, she always pushed me to think beyond what I can do, into dreaming about “why can’t I”. Her belief in me, her encouragement to always chasing after my biggest dreams, and sitting down to devising the roadmap to how I would achieve them has been the most instrumental support I’ve had in my career.”

Benefits for the Mentor

This process is powerful for mentors. Not only is it a chance to provide a legacy, but sharing knowledge helps to enhance one’s own understanding. Mentors gain satisfaction from helping others grow and can slay personal demons by helping their mentees avoid mistakes that they might have made. 

There is a natural tendency for people to hire, mentor and promote people similar to them. They recognise in the mentee a less experienced version of themselves and want to nurture them. In reality, more benefit is derived the bigger the differences. Exposure to different perspectives, styles, personalities and cultural backgrounds increases understanding and awareness while enhancing soft skills. Each mentoring partnership is a one-to-one example of why workplace diversity is so valuable.

“I’ve been surprised by the positive impact it has had on me and, hopefully, my mentee. Once I’d overcome the fear of “what could anybody possibly learn from me?” it became a hugely fulfilling experience. I hope the relationship will last far longer than the term of the programme. I would encourage anyone considering a mentor position to sign up.”

Mark Johns, MD, Healy Hunt

External Mentoring and the WIBF

Whether or not your company provides mentoring. It can make sense to seek an external mentor. This may be particularly appropriate if you feel that people like you are underrepresented further up the org chart. As we have seen, there are huge benefits to mentoring relationships where the two participants are different but some people choose a mentoring relationship with a specific perspective.
Our diversity partners at WIBF provide many benefits including personal and career development, networks, events, job boards and talent recognition as well as an excellent mentoring scheme. Whatever the level of support in your organisation, WIBF facilitates mentoring by successful women, and some men, from outside the female mentee’s organisation for an extra dimension of development. Benefits of an external mentor include having a neutral confidante, the chance to hear about different approaches and perspectives, a way to feel less isolated and access to a wider network.

A great mentor will also pass on some of their own character. The WIBF mentoring programme includes the careful matching of mentees and talented mentors who develop a professional relationship with guidance, support and development of leadership behaviours.

The programme lasts six months. There are also group mentoring sessions and other regular events. Our MD, Mark Johns, is a WIBF Mentor.

“External mentoring has been particularly empowering for our mentees as they get to network with someone who they would normally not cross paths with, thereby extending their network almost immediately.  Moreover, the feeling of support and having your challenges being recognised by someone entirely out of your own sphere, provides a sense of support and community that women find wholly empowering. In simple terms, we’re all in this together, and we can navigate these challenges together.”

Gwen Faure, WIBF

 

Seek Out Mentoring Programmes

We advise people to seek out mentoring programmes and to become a mentor or mentee. It will enhance your career progression and personal growth. For younger professionals considering management or daunted by the prospect of management as a result of promotion, any kind of training is advantageous but having someone in your corner, motivated to see you succeed is hard to match.

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