The Powerful Benefits of Mentorship

Respondents to a new survey from the Internet Marketing Association reported strong benefits of mentorship. Find out some tips for ensuring a successful mentoring relationship.

Do you have a mentor—someone to offer advice, wisdom, or guidance on career decisions large and small?

A new survey from the Internet Marketing Association found that those with mentors find significant benefits from this type of relationship from an early age, and many people are seeking out mentors.

The survey of IMA members found, for example, that 62 percent reported having a mentor in both their personal or professional lives, with almost 30 percent reporting mentors were most prominent in their professional lives.

When asked what area they would like to be mentored in, respondents most frequently reported goal setting, followed by networking and management skills.

If successful, mentoring relationships can lead to lasting, positives changes in people’s lives. Respondents reported that watching those they admire achieve goals and working  with mentors with strong personal brands and business ethics inspired them to work hard for things they believe in.

The IMA survey isn’t the first to illustrate the life-changing effects of mentoring, and there are steps you can take to ensure a successful mentor/mentee relationship.

For example, when Juan Amador, CAE, director of diversity policy and programs at the Association of American Medical Colleges, was looking to refine his public speaking and presentation skills in order to advance in his career, he was proactive in seeking out a mentor who could help him work on those areas. Instead of waiting to be paired with a mentor as part of ASAE’s Diversity Executive Leadership Program, Amador took the initiative and requested Susan Neely, ASAE’s immediate past board chair and president and CEO of the American Beverage Association.

“I took a risk,” Amador told Associations Now. “I put myself out there because I knew she would either say yes or no. Luckily, she said yes.”

To further establish a successful relationship, Amador made sure to ask Neely what he could offer her in terms of his own experience as a DELP scholar and ASAE member.

Reciprocity is one of five characteristics of successful professional mentoring relationships, according to a study published in the January 2013 edition of Academic Medicine. Other characteristics include mutual respect, personal connections, shared values, and clear expectations.

The last characteristic, one of the study’s authors noted, falls largely on the mentee. “Mentees need to learn to take charge and actively manage the relationship—for example, to be in the habit of sending an email before a meeting with an agenda and some questions they want answered,” Mitchell D. Feldman, a University of California, San Francisco professor of medicine, said in a release. “Managing their relationship with their mentor is good practice for managing their own career.”

Meanwhile, the study found that characteristics such as poor communication, poor time management on the part of the mentee, and a mentor’s lack of expertise can all lead to unsuccessful relationships.

In working with a mentor or mentee, what have you found to be the keys to a successful mentoring relationship? Please share in the comments.


Katie Bascuas

By Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. MORE

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