There’s probably a stage in your life when you realize you have to lean on for advice or assistance. Whether it is from a family member, friend, colleague, sports coach, professor, or even an acquaintance, the essence of having a mentor is undeniable. Just like having software for startups that guides you in managing your business, a mentor directs and shapes you for the better.
For Foreign Language and STEAM teacher Rachelle Dene Poth,mentors play a pivotal role in education, saying that “mentorship is formed between more veteran teacher and a newer teacher, to help lessen any feelings of being overwhelmed when starting the teaching journey.” Poth expressed that mentoring also applies the other way around where “veteran teachers need mentors as well.” More importantly for Poth, in the education field, teachers mentor students, providing them “a constant in their life, a relationship based on trust and support” where students know it is always available every time they need it. (Source: The Importance of Being a Mentor and Having a Mentor)
The same goes for the digital age. Chairman and Managing Director Vikash Mittersain of Naza Technologies Ltd. expressed that “hundreds of people are entering the startup ecosystem,” where almost everyone is “coming up with new ideas for products and service.” In India alone, its startup community has multiplied, attaining unicorn status(reached a valuation of at least $1 billion) based on a data platform called Tracxn. (Source: Why a Mentor is as Important as Investor for Startup)
Knowing the company’s services is never enough to stay longer in the business world. Mittersain emphasized the importance of having “experienced hands, someone who has been through all the government issues, the give and takes of business, the ups and downs, and be able to anticipate in advance what is right and wrong at work decisions.” (Source: Why a Mentor is as Important as Investor for Startup)
Types of Mentors
Each mentor has different characteristics and approaches to realizing a mentee’s goals. Please go and check some of them from the list below.
- The Experienced Leader.
As much as you know everything there is, you don’t know what you don’t know. By having a mentor who is experienced and able to relate to the challenges you have,
you can learn priceless knowledge and guidance that is hard to come by.
Sure, you might grow to love your startup product or service, but the return on investment does not come quickly. In the digital world, a “tech guy who would help directly in the product development with his/her experience” is the way to go for startups. They are those who have made their way to the higher ranks and can form mentorship relationships with their mentees. (Source: Why a Mentor is as Important as Investor for Startup)
- The Self-Help Mentor.
The year 2020 has never been great for everyone, more so with businesses. The pandemic has changed how companies worked, with technology paving the way to find new strategies to market innovative services. To bridge the gap between companies and the challenges in thriving during the pandemic, different software providers for startupsadapted to webinars and virtual lectures to provide mentorship and specialized support from global mentor networks. (Source: Google launches a program that boosts and mentors Filipino startups, connecting them to the region)
It runs typically monthly, and from there, startups apply everything they learned from the program to their businesses. (Source: Google for Startups Accelerator: Southeast Asia). Self-help mentorship also comes in different forms from manuals, online articles, and books for you to learn and grow. (Source: Importance Of Mentors: Reasons To Be One Or Get One)
- The Educator.
Teachers are mentors to students while in school. For teacher Poth, the essential part of being an educator is “making time for our students” and “must be available and invest our time to help them succeed.” And mentorship in the academe must not stop in just the campus walls; teachers today reach out to their students and vice versa to build trust and better communication. (Source: The Importance of Being a Mentor and Having a Mentor)
- The Coach.
You can find a mentor from your sports coaches. But coaching has now expanded beyond sports; you can now have a life coach usually brought in by your human resource department or a consultant. Life coaches serve as someone’s wellness professional to help in people’s life progress and fulfilment. (Source: Importance Of Mentors: Reasons To Be One Or Get One)
- The Peer Mentor.
As much as a startup needs an experienced mentor to guide throughout the business process, it will not hurt you if you also get mentorship from your peers who share the same interest, goals, and work issues. It gives you a sense of assurance that every startup does not immediately require guaranteed success. (Source: 7 Types of Mentors)
- The Mentor In You.
You sure have trusted your guts many times that you feel like not getting any advice from someone. Your past experiences can always come in handy to enlighten you with your decisions and options. This usually applies to someone who has long years of life experiences to identify why such situations happen. (Source: Importance Of Mentors: Reasons To Be One Or Get One)
Back in the day, companies sent employees for retreats to learn and build camaraderie among their colleagues. As you may know, technology has evolved so much that even coaching and mentoring can be shared between the mentor and the mentee online.
There might be a difference between physical and virtual mentorship; however, companies have slowly usedonline mentoring to sustain personal development by working remotely. (Sources: Startup Mentor: Finding the Best One for Your Startup; Virtual Mentorship Is Key To Continuing Personal Development In A Remote Environment)
A New York-based nonprofit, I Could Be, also has used online tools to connect students who seek encouragement, advice, and guidance from remote volunteer mentors. Executive director of I Could Be Kate Schrauth believes that “kids today are digital natives.” Adding that “what we find is that technology is such a leveller – that kids are not afraid to ask the questions they want to know.” (Source: The emergence of e-mentoring)
A study from a group of researchers from Drexel University revealed that students who were already aware and comfortable using the computer earned higher self-confidence with e-mentoring. Given the constant of work conditions, the study concluded that “organizations could seek to implement e-mentoring programs as a cost-effective and timely alternative to the traditional approach.” (Source: The emergence of e-mentoring)
And just like that, mentoring has evolved not just one-on-one, but developers provided additional tools and features to e-mentoring applications.
Each mentoring platform has different approaches and styles. It may look different to participate in virtual mentoring, but mentoring software solutions have adopted traditional processes to choose mentors and mentees.
Several mentoring Softwareshave coordinated matching features that quickly filters and accurately matches mentors and mentees. Gone are the days when you manually visit establishments or ask friends for mentor recommendations. The software easily fits people based on criteria, including interests, locations, skills, and desired outcomes. (Source: How Mentor Matching Software Works)
If this does not work for your company, you can opt for traditional mentoring pairs or build peer and team-mentoring groups—a comparative study by Shrestha et al.
in 2009, virtual mentorship had added a new dimension to physical mentoring and quickly addressed conflicts of busy schedules and locations. (Source: E-mentoring Alternative Paradigm For Entrepreneurial Aptitude Development)
A software for startups with this feature works like a social network that allows participants to select, browse and connect with mentors or mentees of their liking. This works for those who opt for one-on-one mentoring. The same goes in the academe where an individual can support a colleague. The self-matching scheme lets you find yourself from another person.
Remember that mentoring is not always about seniority; you can learn from your colleagues who share the same interests. (Source: Self-match Mentoring Scheme)
While you may be comfortable with one-on-one mentoring, others, especially in big organizations, use the group mentoring approach.
With the diverse workforce, especially on digital startups, employees can connect with a different culture contributing to the employee’s development. Despite time differences and geolocations, mentoring software is just a few clicks away to gather and organize group mentoring programs. (Source: Group Mentoring in Business)
As every group member contributes personal experiences, it creates rich and diverse learning for all the participants. The critical part of group mentoring is that all members must be in sync to achieve specific learning goals. As you explore digital mentoring solutions, they actually provideparticular criteria to come up with a mentoring program to fit your organization’s identity and culture. (Source: Group Mentoring in Business)
Mentorship software varies on who participatesin the program if employees are given a chance to learn and develop professionally, more with CEOs.
Yes, CEOs must be at par with others or higher to improve their organizations. They call the final shots about things they’ve never discussed before. Resolve any crisis being the public face of the company or organization? These circumstances do not only require stock knowledge and experiences but new skills.
Suppose you are a CEO of a startup business. You can opt to be paired with a senior startup mentor and get one-on-one meetings. Peer group mentoring may sound like group mentoring, but founders can gather in a group and support each other to achieve professional goals with this approach. (Source: Mentorship Programs for Tech Entrepreneurs)
A survey among 45 CEOs who tried formal mentoring revealed that 71% gave out positive feedback highlighting the company’s improvement after participating in such mentoring programs.
Mentorship has also contributed to the CEOs’ better decision-making, higher capability to fulfil client’s expectations, and prevent mistakes. (Source: CEOs Need Mentors Too)