Mentoring: it’s a two-way street

Mentoring: it’s a two-way street

It is the famous science fiction writer Robert Heinlein who is credited with coining the term, ‘when one teaches, two learn’. Unlike his other writing, there is nothing fictional or unbelievable about what is meant by this saying. In fact, there is an undeniable truth in it. This is why it is crucial to look for opportunities to share your knowledge in order to be successful. For business leaders, there is no better way to teach than by becoming a mentor and, in my opinion, no better way to learn. 

Whether or not you want to run a formal mentoring scheme. Surrounding yourself with potential mentees is a crucial part of building a support system that will enable you to grow.

So how can you benefit from mentoring?

Consolidating your knowledge

You have to know a topic inside and out before you can properly teach it to another person. However, in passing on your learning, you are not just consolidating your technical or industry knowledge. You are also building confidence in your own – and your mentee’s – expertise. 

Gaining perspective

You won’t always know the answer to every question you get asked. Sometimes somebody will approach you with an issue that requires you to ask questions before you can give an answer. Although you may feel like this means you aren’t well equipped enough to answer the question, it is actually giving you some important information – context about your business.

Keeping up to date

During his time as General Electric CEO, Jack Welch set up a reverse mentoring programme which enabled his younger staff to teach older members about computer systems. This is a great reminder that working with people of different ages and backgrounds, who may have different experiences and knowledge, gives you a resource which you can draw on to develop your own skills and keep you up to date.

Learning to lead

Mentoring helps you gain critical leadership skills, such as how to bring out the best in others, recognise strengths and weaknesses, and how to help others achieve great results.

Chew on this:

Look around you – who in your network could you mutually learn from?




Author: Safaraz Ali
My career began in the financial services sector and since 1999, I have been involved in the world of business. I am Head of Pathway Group, which is a workforce development solutions provider. Pathway Group specialise in apprenticeship training and recruitment. I also offer independent strategy, advice, and investment for a wide range of private business sector. These include: social care, education, training, and recruitment.