Research has shown that 70% of small businesses that receive mentoring survive for five years or more, which is double the rate compared with non-mentored entrepreneurs.
Of those with a mentor 97% say they are valuable, 55% believe mentoring can help them succeed, 60% look for experience in a mentor above anything else, but 85% currently do not have a mentor.
93% of small and medium sized businesses acknowledge that mentoring can help them to succeed.
Only 25% of small and medium sized businesses currently make use of business mentors.
A recent survey by the UK’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills found that 94% of SMEs using external support have seen benefits. These firms are more ambitious and have higher relative turnovers.
67% of businesses reported an increase in productivity due to mentoring.
55% of businesses felt that mentoring had a positive impact on their PROFITS.
Mentoring is a developmental relationship; help by one person to another in making significant transitions in knowledge, work or thinking.
A mentor is someone who provides support and helps the mentee to review their situation through a process of reflection, questions, signposting, challenge, advice and feedback. Mentoring is undertaken this way rather than by advice to allow the mentee to come to their own decisions. A mentor is there to help the mentee on their own journey.
Triggers for getting a mentor can be career development or progression, improvement in personal performance, seeking a new or different role, to nurture and foster talent, where progress has been blocked, to help individuals through a challenging time, when seeking the advice of a mentor who has direct experience within a certain area, or for business growth.
A mentor can help assess strengths and weaknesses, develop new skills and help in planning and implementing short and long term goals. They can often provide a fresh perspective, help in exploring alternative options and potential barriers; and help seek new ways of overcoming challenges and problems.
Mentoring can take place either by phone, Skype, face to face, via social media apps or in a group setting.
Business mentoring. Also known as enterprise mentoring can help improve the profitability, sustainability and viability of a business. (Business mentors do not provide a counselling service or supply a training service.)
Personal mentoring. Also known as life mentoring can help at different life stages to help with direction, purpose and improve the well being and confidence of an individual.
Career mentoring. A career mentor can help focus on goals, make key transitions, help market a person to key internal markets and develop skills, experience and expertise. Career mentors are used in all fields of industry and even government and and at all levels from juniors right up to the CEO.
Ex-Offender Mentoring. Mentoring an ex-offender as they transition from prison back into society has to be one of the most rewarding fields of mentoring there is. As they help a person who is disconnected from society to re-establish housing, financial, employment, social and emotional connections which aim to keep that person from re-offending. Work can include 1-2- 1 sessions, group work or pre-release schemes which provide offenders with key employability skills prior to their release.
Youth Mentoring. Youth mentors work with some of the most vulnerable young people in society, providing them with a stable adult figure. Mentors act as role models, helping improve the young persons coping skills, wellbeing and life chances.
Child Mentoring. Child mentoring is the holistic development of children in primary & secondary education. This type of mentoring is asset based, non discriminatory and made available to all children. The main aim of Child mentoring is to promote both personal development and academic achievement in schools.
Community Mentoring. Provides support, kindness and friendship to people within the community helping them to manage with their everyday life challenges, build confidence and experience new things. Community mentoring can include people who are socially excluded, vulnerable, disaffected, have experienced family problems, suffered with poverty, have limited social interaction with people outside their home or those who need career mentoring, academic mentoring or just someone to talk to.
There are many other types of mentoring available please check the website for further details.
National Mentoring day was launched to celebrate, educate and encourage more people to get involved in mentoring and to support mentoring in all areas of UK business and society. Our key focus is on recognising excellence and raising awareness on the benefits of mentoring.
Benefits can include accelerated learning. Access to resources, contacts, support, feedback and being given a fresh/different perspective. Goals can often be achieved quicker and a good mentor can also identify new skills and help to inspire, motivate and increase confidence or self-esteem and provide a platform of accountability. Mentoring can improve the mentees ability to resolve challenges and in the case of business mentoring; the ability to stay in business for the longer term.
Mentoring is a hugely gratifying experience and satisfaction comes from empowering the mentee and with positive outcomes. The passing of knowledge is a great way of giving something back to others and encourages social and economic progress. Mentoring provides a real opportunity to make a difference to the success of others.
A mentor often has experience beyond the mentees therefore they can help with solving problems, spotting potential mistakes, challenging the mentees ways of thinking and acting as a sounding board offering guidance, support and feedback that is more impartial about the opportunites and pitfalls ahead.
Asking family, close friends or persons involved within the workplace to be objective or ask awkward questions to is often difficult so a mentor can act as a confident and someone to trust. A good mentor will often have strong relationships, networks and connections to share and help to propel the mentee forwards faster than if they were on their own.
A mentor will share their own experiences, learnings, failures, knowledge and wisdom which can often help the mentee with their journey and avoid costly mistakes. Just one piece of sound advice can often be a catalyst of change for a mentee.
Mentors often become mentors as they want to give something back, pass on their life experience or because they realise that their own path would have been far easier or quicker had they had a mentor at an earlier stage. Mentoring provides a great opportunity to facilitate personal or professional growth within an individual or business through the sharing of knowledge and experience.
The benefits to the mentor can be improved confidence and enhanced communication skills. Improved breadth of view. Enhanced ability to manage people. Improved soft skills; especially listening and a gain of transferable skills. Through mentoring you can pass on your values and help carry on your mission or legacy.
Listen, ask questions – e.g. how? Why? Point out potential barriers, obstacles, challenge thoughts, offer advice, ideas, share their own experience, stories, outcomes and summarise and review to help facilitate the mentees own thoughts.
To find a mentor you’ll first need to identify someone you respect, admire, a role model or choose someone from within an organisation or association that you are connected to i.e. place of work or externally. Check with your current employer, college, university or organisation to see if they have a mentoring program or initiative already in place.
Some organisations offer mentees to be matched with compatible mentors based on personalities, experience and the identification of needs. Ask for recommendations in the same way as you would any other trade person or professional. For business mentoring the site mentorsme lists all the mentoring organisations that have met national standards.
It’s best to decide what skills you are looking for in a mentor and then consider your own goals when choosing one. A mentor can often be a role model or someone you aspire to be like. Think about their characteristics, can you relate to the mentor and do you respect them? Look at how they communicate; does it suit your style? Avoid a mentor who comes across as too controlling, blaming, judgmental or a know-it- all!
Yes some people have more than one mentor to benefit from different perspectives and provide experience or expertise in multiple areas. It is well known that Richard Bransons has many mentors all at one time to advise on different aspects of his diverse businesses.
By finding a mentoring programme or organisation near you that best matches your needs or by volunteering within your own organisation or an association you know, or by undertaking training to become a volunteer or professional mentor. Mentoring organisations and initiatives will often advertise when they are recruiting mentors.
Before becoming a mentor consider the available time you have to commit to mentoring and whether you want to work with individuals or in groups and with adults, children or youth and think about the location you would like to mentor in.
Mentors should have a desire to bring about change and a willingness to help others. A mentor should have good active listening skills whilst leaving their own agendas and egos at the door. With business mentoring additional overall business experience is needed or specialist experience that is valuable to all types of business e.g. IT.
Someone who is committed to be able to invest time and effort into the mentoring relationship. Being able to recognise potential, ask questions and have a positive upbeat attitude. A good mentor will have a willingness to generate opportunities or contacts through the mentors existing network and be able to admit their mistakes or failures and discuss a wide range of issues offering honest and constructive feedback.
Being able to build rapport easily and put the mentee at ease to foster openness and trust, and being reliable, a good listener and wanting to share information and knowledge is key in mentoring.
Professional training and qualifications are available which means that you can support your mentee in the best way and develop your skills to national standards. For further information please click here.
It can improve employee engagement, confidence and transferable skills especially people skills so it is especially useful as part of leadership development.
No mentoring is free – it can be free for the mentee to access however the costs are borne by another party. The quality and length of mentoring depends on the individuals and organisations involved. Many volunteers undertake the full training and have valuable skills just as professional mentors have.
A minimum of an hour a month is normally needed. It is up to each individual or organisation to agree the length and time of the relationship. Most first meetings will take longer than subsequent ones.
Agreeing levels of support that works for both parties is essential. It is important to discuss at the start of any mentoring relationship the frequency, duration, by what means the mentoring sessions will take place and when and where to meet; also consider how reviews will take place and if any records will be kept.
From the beginning establish a working relationship, timescales, expectations, boundaries and objectives. Be open to feedback, honest and willing to share relevant information. Be ready to develop new ways of thinking, behaviours and attitudes. Prepare for the mentoring process, setting goals, priorities, realistic expectations and always review your progress. Ensure that objectives set are achievable and realistic. i.e. to achieve sales of figures higher than Microsoft in six months is probably unrealistic.
A mentorship is especially productive when the mentor believes in the mentee and if the mentor can learn from the mentee as mentoring is a two-way relationship.