Why mentoring is important for managers and team leaders
“The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves” – Steven Spielberg
To rise to meet their potential, most successful managers and team leaders have had a mentor and have been a mentor.
Mentoring could be the missing ingredient to shift you from being a really good manager into a great team leader. And it may be 100% tax deductible!
What does mentoring mean?
Let’s start by clarifying with mentoring isn’t. Mentoring isn’t about getting together for a coffee and chat occasionally. For success, both mentor and mentee need to be chosen carefully, both for their personal and professional attributes.
Whenever you try something new, by definition you are likely to get it wrong. Creativity and innovation can only really flow in a fear-free environment. Team leaders need to feel safe enough to make mistakes before they can really fly.
What’s in it for me as the mentor?
As a mentor, I see my role as helping my mentee to fly, by making them feel safe to make mistakes, to help them to help themselves, while supporting them along the way. I have been formally mentoring for more than 10 years, initially with industry as a leader to managers in global companies such as Six Senses Hotels and Aurora Spa at Palazzo Versace. My international, startup, operations management and corporate experience provided me with heaps of related learnings and I wanted to share that, to add value to the lives, careers and businesses of others. Training, coaching and mentoring were natural steps for me to be able to empower and enable others to grow and really shine. That’s what I get a kick out of being a mentor.
What mentoring has taught me
I’m always learning, and I learn from my mentees too. They learn that their self-doubts are no different to anyone else in business, and confidence that they are heading in the right direction. Having understanding from someone like-minded who can see what they need without them having to try so hard to get across what they need, is absolutely useful. An objective perspective from someone outside looking in, who is able to see through the mass of information, that can be overwhelming, and bring them to a level where they can focus on what’s most important and strategically plan from that position, is powerful.
How mentoring helps the mentee
The mentee learns that there are other people out there that just want to help them be the best they can be, with no judgement or criticism. We don’t know what we don’t know so guidance for navigating through key challenges along the management and leadership pathway is priceless.
Sarah Kolkka, Spa and Wellness Manager, Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat, Australia shares:
“I can honestly say that I would not be the successful manager I am today without the guidance, support and knowledge Angela provided me with. Her extensive knowledge of wellness spa operations and strategic planning, combined with adaptable teaching methods have stayed with me and when I come across a new challenge, I often refer back to her advice for support and recalibration.”
For the mentee the benefit is the opportunity to draw upon the experience of the mentor; for the mentor the benefit is about the self-reflection that comes with understanding another person. The relationship is a balance of the personal and professional, and there must be enough trust for discussions to be authentic and honest.
For Priya Tahere, Director of Alceme Urban Retreat, Hobart, Australia:
“This is by far the smartest business decision I have ever made. Mentoring was the most effective way for me to reach not only my professional goals, but also tick off some personal goals. The confidence and structure I have gained working with my mentor Angela, who always goes above and beyond to help me to shine, has made a huge impact on the business, my working relationships and my personal life.”
A willing and experienced business person to help you, not just through your mentoring program period, but also long term, even if it’s just as a sounding board, is priceless. In many circumstances, both the mentor and the mentee get a lifelong friend, and the mentee gets someone who understands their business and them.
How mentoring works
Meetings are regular, depending on the needs of the mentee, with a schedule and milestones to be discussed.
Being a mentor is not easy: it requires skills to both inspire and motivate. An essential part of the relationship is to show the mentee how to keep moving forward in the face of setbacks. For me as the mentor, this means revealing the mistakes that I’ve made along the way and most importantly, what I’ve learned from them.
For the mentee it means making hard decisions about what sort of person they want to be. Often, as is the case for many mentors, my mentees inspire me.
What to look for in a mentor
A mentor is usually someone in your field and they are not connected to your day-to-day, or work objectives, depending on what you are looking for from your mentor. The key is that they have experience, strong networks and offer unbiased view.
Tahi Cody, a business professional with over 20 years of management and mentoring experience with companies such as Endota, believes that “The benefits of finding the right person or people are numerous and invaluable. With so many choices, taking a step in one direction can disable a person into no action, potentially missing golden opportunities. Sometimes a decision can be fraught with regret. So, how do we know what is the right step to take? This is where the wealth of experience found in a truly inspiring mentor comes into its own, shining the light of guidance like a beacon of trust.
My advice is to find a mentor who is authentic. Look for a mentor who has their “house in order”. They are organised, they have created a positive space for you and ask questions that build your character.”
Are mentoring programs tax deductible?
Yes, it is usually 100% deductible and some of our clients are sponsored by their organisation to be mentored as part of a professional development program or succession planning for businesses. I recommend speaking to your accountant to confirm tax deductibility.
Have you considered being a mentee or mentor yourself?
To learn more about how we can help you, your team and organisation with our standard wellbeing training or mentoring programs or one customised just for you, send us a message. We’ll get back to you within 48 hours.
If you’d like to get your questions answered immediately, feel free to ring Debi on 1300 342 191 from within Australia.