Don’t Have a Mentor? If You’re Not a Protégé You’re Missing Out

By Mike BergelsonApril 14, 2014

If you don’t have a mentor, you’re missing out on some powerful benefits.

You’d expect us to say that, of course. After all, we exist to help mentors and protégés form successful partnerships.  But it’s not just our opinion – it’s backed up by solid scientific research. In this post, we’ll take you through some of the main benefits of being mentored, and show how mentoring can help you in your career and in your life.

The mentoring process has great advantages for mentors too, and for the organizations they work for. We’ll talk about some of those benefits in future posts, but for now we’re focusing on the protégé.

The Research

There have been thousands of studies of mentoring over the years. In an attempt to make sense of all the research and draw some overall conclusions, a team of academics conducted a “meta-analysis,” looking at 116 different studies and compiling the results.

The idea of the research was to compare mentored to non-mentored individuals, and to see what measurable outcomes the mentoring process had. Here’s what they found.

People who were being mentored:

  • Showed better job performance and academic performance than those who weren’t.
  • Were more likely to help others.
  • Had greater career satisfaction.
  • Were under reduced psychological stress, and had a more positive self‑perception.
  • Had stronger interpersonal relationships.
  • Were more motivated.
  • Had greater career success, with higher salaries and more promotions.

Remember, this is based on 116 separate academic studies, with an overall sample size of thousands of people. The researchers found that all of their hypotheses about the value of mentoring were confirmed with statistically significant numbers. For more details on the research, click here.

What It Means For You

Most people would agree that those benefits are quite compelling. But people also report other advantages to mentoring.

If you’re new to an organization, for example, a good mentor can help you understand the culture and navigate successfully. The same applies when you move to a new town or country.

A mentor can introduce you to new people, expanding your professional network and exposing you to new insights. While networking certainly shouldn’t be your primary goal in seeking out a mentor, it is a powerful side-benefit.

If you want to learn a new skill, your mentor may be able to teach you. If not, he or she will certainly have a good idea of where you can go to develop the skills you need.

If your mentor is in a leadership position, then your relationship will help you to learn leadership skills yourself. You’ll also get an insight into what life at the higher levels of the organization is like, and be able to decide whether that’s what you want for your own future.

Many protégés report that being mentored simply “changed their life.” When you add up all of the benefits reported in the academic study, it’s easy to see why.

But there’s one caveat to all of this.

To get the full benefits of the process, you have to find the right mentor, structure the relationship properly, and continuously evaluate your partnership to ensure that you are getting the most out of it.

Having a successful mentoring relationship is easier said than done. It’s something we work hard on here at Everwise, and we’ll have more advice on the blog in the coming months. Or contact us right now to learn how we can help you set up a mentoring relationship that delivers all the benefits it should.

Mike Bergelson

Mike Bergelson

CEO at Everwise

About the Author

Mike Bergelson is the CEO and a co-founder of Everwise, a talent development startup that connects employees to the people, development resources and experiences they need to thrive at every stage of their career.

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