Read these 3 powerful stories about why mentorship can be a major catalyst in transforming your career, and why it pays to include it in your business plan.
Mentorship has the power to completely transform an organization’s culture. Mentorship creates enhanced communication, intergenerational connections, and supportive environments that generate a sense of value and commitment amongst your employees.
You can leverage the powerful opportunities for leadership development, succession planning, and retention that already exist in your organization. Mentorship programs can help to fill gaps and give additional opportunities for minority groups or women, people who face systemic barriers to progression in their careers.
The business case is clear on mentorship. It works and it’s valuable. But let’s zoom out for a minute. Instead of focusing on organizations as a whole, let’s look at some of the powerful ways it can affect someone’s quality of life.
Mentorship can give experienced personnel an opportunity to give back, peer mentors access to continued learning, and mentee’s opportunities that can change their personal lives dramatically. Mentorship is a unique relationship that offers opportunities, new skills and lifetime relationships that otherwise could take much longer to evolve, or never actually come to fruition.
Career Development Opportunities
You find yourself in a room with people you may never have met, which sets you up for an amazing business deal or travel opportunity. You are introduced to a new industry that redirects your career on a course you never thought you would love. When you’ve got someone genuinely looking to open you up to new possibilities, the potential opportunities are endless.
Ankur Gupta, from Scanway Catering in Halifax, Nova Scotia, has a pretty distinctive mentorship experience. He recently shared with the En Point team a bit about his experience in his family business.
“Throughout the course of my life, I have always placed importance on the idea that learning from those that possess more knowledge is the best way to soak up information. This can be best explored through a mentor relationship. Having worked these past two years as a partner with my father in our family food & beverage business, I have come to appreciate this idea even more. Coming from a tech background, I have had little experience in this industry compared to my father who brings 35 years-experience to the table.” Ankur remarks, “Over the past two years, our relationship as a father son has extended into one of mutual respect on a professional level. This evolution has been extremely beneficial to me as I’ve had the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of this business from an expert individual. At the same time, my lack of experience combined with a passion for technology has allowed me to share and pass along solutions that my father is unable to come up with, simply due to the fact that given his experience he has come to see things a certain way.” “The best part? This experience as translated into serious results, not only for our personal relationship, but for our growing business. These drastically differing perspectives combined with the mentor relationship have pushed Scanway into an entirely new realm as a business — previously unreached and growing. We’re both able to fill in the gaps where the other may lack because we are such different people coming from truly drastically backgrounds.” Ankur goes on to explain, “ultimately we both want to achieve the same goals; we simply approach the problems in front of us with a different mindset. I am excited to continue to explore this mentor relationship with my father and hope to see it continue to benefit the business as a whole.”
The Gupta family’s story illustrates how mentorship can create intergenerational links within a workplace culture that become invaluable. In a workforce that can include up to 5 generations, harnessing the power of multiple skillsets working together yields results that can create benefits for the bottom line as well as in the personal lives of the individuals involved.
Developing New Skills
Mentorship shows its value through the development of new skills. The effectiveness of having someone with an objective view helping you to see what skills to draw out and work towards, is immeasurable. The Deloitte 2016 Millennial Survey found 61% of Millennials are currently benefiting from having somebody to turn too for advice, helping them develop their leadership skills.
The power of the right person coming into your life and taking a genuine interest, can give you an idea of where your true strengths are and where you are staying in your comfort zone. Steve Jobs had Bill Campbell as a mentor; Mark Zuckerberg had Steve Jobs; Bill Gates had Warren Buffett, and we all know what these leaders were able to bring to the world after being pushed out of their comfort zone. A great example of this lies within the career path of young athletes where most have spent their whole life dedicated to their sport. A mentor can help them develop and recognize skills acquired from their athletic career, and it can make all the difference.
“Now what? It’s a question many athletes ask themselves when their time participating in a high- performance sport comes to an end, and it is exactly where the importance of mentorship begins.” “Establishing a connection with the right mentor can empower mentees when it comes to navigating their future career path. Having been afforded the opportunity to be a mentee myself, it opened the door for me to engage in collaborative and meaningful discussions with a mentor that I value to this day. Over the years, everything has come full circle through my coaching positions, as I now have the privilege to serve as a mentor to a number of athletes aspiring to blaze their own trail.”
Tasia’s story shows the cyclical nature of mentorship. Often when people experience the deeply supportive relationship of a great mentor, they want to return the favour. Having an opportunity to give back to others in their field is an insightful experience, and can provide evolution for those who feel they have plateaued in their career.
Mentor relationships can deepen over time and truly bring an element of human support. A previous student of the EduNova Study and Stay program in Nova Scotia, Nadine Ezzeddine, shares her unique experience with her program mentor, Anna Marenick.
Nadine came to Canada as an international student in 2015. There were years of dreaming and planning that went into the decision to relocate to Canada. It meant temporarily leaving her two teenage daughters in Lebanon, and starting her life over again in a new country as a single woman and a mature student. Nadine describes Anna’s support as holistic and nurturing, no doubt helping throughout the transition to life in Canada.
“I was lucky enough to be paired with an astonishing, successful and professional woman. Very early on Anna mindfully addressed me holistically; as a female, as a mother, student and a professional. Her capacity to relate to me and address in these four aspects, was kind of unique and distinguished. It was nurturing for me; it gave me that feeling of safety.” “[Her support] came in a timely manner and translated into my success. Just shortly after I moved into my first job, my daughters’ application to join me was approved, almost one year ago now. I am so grateful for the Canadians who have embraced me early on, like Anna, the mentorship program, and the study and stay program.”
Watch an amazing video of Nadine and Anna! Anna and Nadine’s relationship is a great example of a mentorship relationship that has created personal and professional roots, and will continue to be supportive for both women.
Mentorship Benefits Every Stage of Your Career
En Point CEO Chantal Brine has a similar story. At a point in her career where she felt lost, an influential meeting propelled her career in a direction she didn’t see coming. En Point’s mission is rooted in mentorship, and it was Chantal’s mentor that supported her through the leap from employee to entrepreneur.
She describes the ideal mentor relationship like a having a mirror in front of you. “Prior to having a mentor, the mirror has scratches and is foggy, dull. You are still seeing you, but only bits and pieces, and definitely not shining as bright as you could be. As you develop the relationship, the mirror becomes more clear, you begin to get a sharper picture of yourself and your path”.
Acknowledging that the strength of the relationship is important, she offers, “This relationship was built over a year, and that’s important. Trust, knowing you are safe, and that your mentor wants nothing but for you to be happy, is key to receiving helpful feedback.”
Chantal and her mentor worked together to build the path that eventually led to En Point. Leveraging her mentor’s experience and expertise, she navigated her way from that first student meeting to leading group workshops, and then eventually acquiring propriety software that helps En Point do the work that it does today.
Chantal is adamant that her mentor’s support is still important to her career, “the mirror can get cloudy again, you get distracted and stray from who you really are, or what your goals are, those things can sneak up on you. Having someone who can help you buff the mirror every once in a while- so you don’t lose your vision- is key. We all need that help along the way.” The average person spends 70% of their life at work, and for entrepreneurs, that number is even higher. Chantal is serious about the reality of a mentor’s influence, “when you impact someone’s career you are impacting their full life. Helping them lead a full life- it impacts their families and their communities. Having a mentor push you to take risks, get out of your comfort zone makes all the difference.” She adds, “maybe you think you’re at the top of your game, but you are not seeing the results you want?
No matter if we are in the beginning, middle or transitioning out of our career, mentorship is a great feedback loop. I don’t think we just get one, I think if we tune in and we are looking for these opportunities along the way- in your career and in your life- everything becomes better.” You are probably thinking of your own unique mentorship story.
At En Point, we believe that there is no such thing as “self-made”. Mentorship, whether formal or informal has a singular way of influencing not just your career, but your journey through life.We would love to hear your mentorship stories! Share your story with us on social media. Follow our mission to help one million people find careers they love!
Written by: Julia Brine, Client Management and Communications, En Point