How a Mentorship Program Can Help Both Mentors and Mentees

Vish Khanna usually tells individuals he’s self-taught as a result of he’s by no means had formal skilled coaching in advertising and marketing.

But, he says, that’s not the entire fact.

“The reality is … I was taught by a series of mentors over two decades,” says Vish, the 2015 Content Marketer of the Year who now works because the chief business officer at HealthPrize.

“A lot of what I do and how I think about marketing and commercialization is driven by the experiences I had as a young professional learning from some fantastic marketers,” he says.

Knowledge achieve is simply one of many causes the Content Marketing Institute launched its year-long mentor program in 2021. (Applications for the 2023 program will be accepted soon.)

Benefits of mentoring

The long-term advantages of mentoring applications are vital. A five-year Gartner study of Sun Microsystems mentorship program carried out earlier this century explored the influence of mentor-mentee relationships inside the corporate. Among the findings:

  • 25% of workers in this system noticed a wage improve as in comparison with 5% of the employees who didn’t take part.
  • Mentees have been promoted 5 occasions extra usually than these with out mentors.

But the advantages don’t cease with the mentees. Mentors at Sun have been six occasions extra more likely to be promoted than non-mentors.

Mentors were 6x more likely to be promoted than non-mentors. Mentees were 5x more likely to be promoted than non-mentors, according to @Gartner_inc study via @AnnGynn @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

A Deloitte-sponsored study detailed the non-monetary advantages of mentoring, together with:

  • 87% of mentors and mentees say they really feel empowered by their relationship and have developed higher confidence.
  • 82% say their mentoring relationships assist foster significant connections not solely between the mentor and mentee however throughout departments and the group as properly.
  • 84% say their relationship supplies two-way inspiration.

A study by DDI, a leadership consulting firm, discovered 67% of ladies say mentorship is very essential to advancing and rising their careers. Yet, 63% of that group say they’ve by no means had a formal mentor.

All that analysis factors to the worth of collaborating in a mentorship program both as a mentor or mentee – and, partially, the constructive influence on fairness and inclusion a formal mentor can have.

Mentor perspective

Over the years, Vish added the mentor function to his expertise, first as a coach for his youngster’s sports activities crew and later in his skilled world – constructing advertising and marketing groups in a approach that requires mentorship.

As he explains, Vish hires advertising and marketing makers, not advertising and marketing managers. “I’ve got to find the right person and nurture their skillset and ability to play that type of (manager) role, and that demands mentorship,” he says.

For the previous two years, he’s additionally participated as a mentor within the Content Marketing Institute’s program. “ mentor-mentee relationship could be very a lot peer-based. I simply could have a decade extra expertise.

“I was surprised by how much these conversations with my mentees have made real changes in their day-to-day workflows and how I do my job. I’ve made substantial changes in my approach to marketing based on what I’ve learned from my mentees.”

I was surprised how conversations with my mentees led me to make changes in how I do my job, says @CMIContent mentor @bediscontent via @AnnGynn. Click To Tweet

CMI mentor Deanna Ransom, govt director of Women in Revenue, agrees. “What I have truly enjoyed is the opportunity to be able to both give and receive from the relationship,” she says.

Vish says he touches base along with his former mentees each month or two and generally asks for recommendation as a result of they know Vish’s enterprise challenges very well.

But that sturdy relationship began with an method Vish discovered from working with many startups and product planning – asking dozens of questions instantly to establish the mentee’s problem(s).

“Run through 20 questions through a pipeline, and you’re going to hit a bunch of holes. It’s just the nature (of things) because not everybody has everything tightened up,” Vish says. “You get there (identifying the challenges) pretty quickly – what’s happening on a tactical and structural level in somebody’s marketing engine – and then figure out.”

But earlier than asking any questions or sharing any ideas, Vish and his mentees signed a non-disclosure settlement. He says the doc lets each events communicate truthfully and overtly about their actual challenges.

Mentee perspective

Vahag Aydinyan, content material advertising and marketing supervisor at 7shifts, was a mentee within the CMI program final yr. It went so properly that he and his mentor, Megan Gilhooly, will proceed assembly month-to-month in 2023.

While Vahag has had some short-term mentors, the CMI program was his first in a formal program. As a new content material advertising and marketing supervisor who wanted to scale a crew of 1 into a crew of 4, he was longing for a mentor’s enter.

He says two outcomes from the mentorship have been useful:

  • Learning a lot from a one that has gone via the identical stuff in her profession. He says he might deal with challenges simpler as a result of he had somebody to assist him.
  • Receiving validation for his concepts and options from an skilled skilled earlier than he shared them within the office.

@vahaging says having a mentor like @MeganGilhooly let him receive validation for his ideas before he shared them in his workplace via @AnnGynn @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

The mentoring pair normally met as soon as a month, although generally he would ask to leap on a name to carry up a matter essential for the time being. “I come with notes … the more prepared you are for this kind of meeting, the more you get out of it,” Vahag says.

Among Vahag’s recommendation for mentees:

  • Be clear with expectations.
  • Make certain to place in sufficient thought. Make it straightforward on your mentor that can assist you.
  • Be open to the mentor’s recommendation, even when it’s one thing you could not wish to hear.

How to search out a mentor

An Olivet Nazarene study discovered 61% of mentors and mentees work on the identical firm. But there are benefits to working with a mentor who doesn’t have the identical employer.

Divya Bisht, a content material strategist at Spinutech, participated within the CMI program. “Having someone outside my company who can give me a fresh perspective on how I’m working on things or why certain things failed or can be better next time around has really helped me grow as a content strategist,” she says.

If you don’t take part in a formal mentor program like CMI’s, you possibly can nonetheless discover a mentor or mentee. The Olivet research discovered 25% of mentees have been invited by their mentors, and 14% requested somebody to mentor them.

Treat your mentor search like a lead-generation exercise – you’ll possible attain out to many, with one or two changing into a mentor-type relationship. That’s what Vish says he’s carried out. He’s reached out to individuals who have carried out one thing that pursuits him and lets them know he needs to be taught extra about that factor. A few these outreach alternatives became long-term relationships.

He shares one instance from a earlier function in organizing writer occasions. Vish’s hero was Frank Chin, an writer and pioneer in Asian-American theater. He requested Frank to attend. The invitation was accepted, and Vish received to spend time with him over the three days. “The relationship continued for years after that,” Vish says.

Expand your seek for mentors outdoors your business. “One of my greatest mentors who taught me about commercialization in the pharmaceutical industry was a doctor – working closely with him and learning about an entire business world,” Vish says.

After the NDA

Though a non-disclosure settlement is a sensible first step, it’s not the one doc that must be created. Both mentor and mentee ought to get on the identical web page so far as expectations and how the 2 will work collectively.

A non-disclosure agreement is a smart first step in a mentor relationship outside your workplace, says @AnnGynn via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

EDUCAUSE affords this helpful guide on mentorships. It particulars the 4 phases of the connection – preparation, negotiating, enabling progress, and closure. It consists of a pre-partnership guidelines to make sure you’re able to do it in addition to interview inquiries to establish potential matters and extra. I significantly discover its settlement guidelines useful to make sure every particular person understands what the connection is and what is predicted. Among the questions:

  • How a lot time might be dedicated to the connection on a common foundation? Be lifelike.
  • Write down objectives and analyze them to fulfill the SMART standards.
  • Agree on a dialogue format. (e.g., formal agendas, topic-driven agendas, check-in conversations)
  • Be versatile. Expectations and plans will change as your relationship progresses.
  • Articulate standards for fulfillment. What does success “look” like?

I’d prefer to share your experiences with CMI readers. Have you had a mentor or mentee? How did you discover your companion? What did you want about it? What do you want might have been higher? Please element within the feedback.

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Cover picture by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute