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Why Mentorship is Key to Leveling-Up Your Professional Career

Taking the first step to initiate a mentorship can be intimidating. However, by approaching a prospective mentor with enthusiasm and curiosity in their expertise, one might be pleasantly surprised with reciprocated interest and engagement. Mentorship has significant benefits for both mentors and mentees, but as of 2019, only 37% of professionals were actively part of a mentorship.

What is mentorship?

Mentorship is typically defined as a relationship between two people where a more experienced and knowledgeable person offers guidance, advice and support to someone with less experience. A mentor provides guidance and advice based on their experience and knowledge. It’s a way of transferring knowledge from one person to another and helping someone grow and achieve their goals.

Why is Mentorship Important?

According to a case study by Sun Microsystems , “employees involved in mentoring are promoted five times more often than those not involved in mentoring.” The study also found, “those who serve as a mentor are six times more likely to be promoted to a higher position.” Employees who engage in mentorships also report higher levels of happiness at work and even mentors report experiencing an expansion of their skillset, and an increased ability to tackle challenges as a result.
At Crowley, mentorship is regarded as one of the best paths to strengthen professional acumen and personal connections. Our mentorship program, Mentor Me and other mentorship connections, have produced plentiful advantageous development for our people, who evolve as a result of their dynamic.

How to level-up your professional career with mentoring

Finding the Right Match

A mentor is different from your manager. While a manager is accountable for your performance, a mentor guides the mentee to help them perform their best. This means you don’t need to work on the same team as your mentor. Instead, look for a mentor who reflects your professional career goals and values, an authentic leader who motivates you to try new things, or someone whose work inspires you.

Staying Connected

Meet and agree on the best time that works for both of you. Choosing to meet consistently despite busy schedules is a way to allow the rapport between you to develop naturally. A built-in checkpoint is also a healthy way to regularly step back from your everyday hustle and bustle and decide if your current approach is effective or if you should make some adjustments. Even if there are schedule conflicts that arise, we recommend you avoid allowing long periods without rescheduling your sessions. This reinforces the value you place on the relationship.

Coming Prepared

Both the mentor and mentee should come to the meeting with questions for each other and planned topics for conversation. You might not always follow that exact conversation, but it will help ensure that you have a productive chat. Here are a few examples to get you started:

Staying Humble

Mentors should be ready to dedicate time to their mentees and know that they are likely going to learn a lot from them. Mentees should also be ready to learn from the experiences of their mentors. A level of vulnerability to discuss challenges you have faced at work can also help the relationship blossom.

Being an Active Listener

You never know what you will learn from your mentor or mentee. If your mentor/mentee has a different business experience than you, it’s important that both provide a safe space to share frustrations and achievements. By lending a listening ear to a different perspective, there is a greater opportunity to build trust and engagement to address challenges in a fresh, new way.

Improving Culture Through Collaboration

Even if you and your mentor work in vastly different field, it can be beneficial to ideate ways that your know-how can be applied to challenges your counterpart is facing. Collaboration is valuable for many reasons, but one of the most valuable elements of it in a mentorship dynamic is that it can be validating. Both parties can use their creativity and experiences to think of cutting-edge solutions. This can be an affirming exercise that can serve as an effective motivator for purpose.

Holding Each Other to High Standards

This is a dynamic that works best when both people are pushed to evolve. Honesty with one another is a tried-and-true way to expedite this evolution. If either person is withholding honest feedback for the sake of avoiding discomfort, then the mentorship is destined to become more of a formality than the substantive professional career boost it has to potential to be. Keeping each other accountable behind the scenes gives people opportunities to improve without relying on the feedback of management alone.

Making Progress Through Fresh Perspective

A clear sign of a healthy mentorship dynamic is the ability for senior leaders to learn and grow from their mentees. One common misconception about mentorship relationships is that due to seniority and experience, the senior mentor is designated as the primary source of knowledge. By focusing on innovation and new ideas, fresh perspectives can drive organizations beyond the status quo.

Remembering That a Rising Tide Lifts All Boats

Mentorships and the benefits they provide can serve as a reminder that working together is critical to any company’s success. By establishing a safe space to be honest, vulnerable and creative, you build accountability for your self-development. Not only is this beneficial on a small scale but can create room for creative ideas to unfold into enterprise scale initiatives.

If you were on the fence before, hopefully now you feel more convinced to take the leap and start your search to find a mentor or mentee. Adhering to these principles when beginning a new mentorship or enhancing a pre-established one can prove valuable in the long run. It can lead to expansive opportunities not just on the individual level, but also in your career.

With a daily commitment to innovation and collaboration, our diverse team of over 7,000 people fulfills our purpose while embodying our core values of Integrity, Sustainability and Drive. We seek to partner with driven individuals who are ready to elevate their careers with us and help us to continue our industry leadership, to challenge what’s possible and to embrace the power of inclusion