5 Reasons Why You Need More Than One Mentor
The concept of mentoring is evolving. The notion of mentoring as a prescribed, homogenous exercise cannot be sustained in a workplace with different personalities, ideas and interests. If our organisations are centres of diverse thought, then why can’t mentoring be the same?
Here are 5 reasons why you should have more than one mentor:
1. Diversity of thought
While one mentor’s expertise will always be valuable, different perspectives from other mentors will enrich a mentee’s knowledge. In our podcast, ‘Mentors Who Made Me’, Nathan Chestney-Stagg talks about the importance of a having a ‘Mentoring Matrix’, and how the viewpoints of multiple mentors can be combined to help ‘ferment in your own mind what you’ll do and how you’ll solve it’. Mentoring is about sharing knowledge, broadening perspectives and shying away from a myopic thought-process. Embracing the ideas of more than one mentor can have a huge impact on your development and decision-making process.
2. Grow your network
Mentoring is a mutually-beneficial process for both the mentor and mentee. When a mentor is
tasked with nurturing a new generation of talent, they too have the opportunity to learn from the mentees and grow from the process. This mutually-beneficial relationship can help you expand your network in a very powerful way. In a mentorship, you’re not just collecting business cards at a networking event, you are exchanging knowledge and learning about each other’s skills, strengths and experience. These factors all come into play when people make recommendations and connections within their wider network. It should come as no surprise then, that people with multiple mentors are exposed to more opportunities throughout their careers.
Speaking about your network…
3. “You are only as good as the people you surround yourself with”
An employee has a number of goals, questions and needs that often cannot be serviced by one mentor alone. ‘The Personal Boardroom’, is a concept created by Amanda Scott and Dr Zella King, highlighting the different roles people can play in the workplace based on their personal strengths. Scott and King suggest that by surrounding yourself with a range of people who have a range of different strengths, you are far more likely to find personal and professional success. In order to extract this same value from mentoring, it’s important to identify the different roles mentors may play and make sure that you have a range of mentorship styles that are meeting all of your learning needs.
4. Opportunity to test out chemistry
Chemistry is key to a great mentorship but chemistry is only really present in connections that flourish without formal interference. By having multiple mentors, you are able to see which mentorships flourish naturally into long-term relationships and which mentorships are best short-lived without losing momentum with your development. Micro-mentoring with multiple mentors is a great way to do this.
Micro-mentoring is a mentorship that can help you solve a small problem or navigate a one-off challenging situation. Micro-mentoring can last for a few hours, a few days or even a few weeks, and works best when the mentee has one very clear outcome to gain. Having multiple mentors does not mean you have to have multiple long-term mentorships, some of the mentorships could start as micro-mentorships to ‘test the water’ for longer term potential.
5. Quicker progression
By surrounding yourself with multiple mentors who are each trying to help you reach your goals, you are far more likely to reach them quicker. While the mentor’s time commitment will remain the same, the mentee’s learning time will be dramatically increased, and with learning from shared experiences proven to be one of the most effective ways of learning and learning retention, the mentee will progress far quicker than if they were to only have one mentor.
Why mentoring matters
In an age of multiple connections, it’s vital to extract value from the relationships we form. If a company’s employees are integral to its success, then mentoring is where the success is nurtured. Better communication will always make your employees feel better valued, and a process of multiple mentors will expand the lines of communication across your company. As knowledge of the people within our organisation increases, the formulaic, uniform approach to mentoring looks outdated. Adapting to the needs of your employees means creating the conditions for their needs to be met. A tool like Grasp will enable your employees to connect with a number of potential mentors based on skills, experience and interests. If we can choose the friendships we form at various stages of our lives, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t choose the mentors throughout our careers.