What Is a Mentor in Business? - Definition & Concept

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  • 0:02 Mentor in Business
  • 1:22 The Mentoring Process
  • 2:26 Benefits of Mentoring
  • 3:33 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Donna Swarthout
Many organizations use mentors to foster personal and career development. Learn about business mentors and the benefits of mentoring. When you are through, take a quiz to test your knowledge.

Mentor in Business

Are you familiar with the phrase 'no man is an island?' Sometimes to be successful in business - and life - you must rely on people to help you along the way. Business professionals today have numerous opportunities to participate in relationships that can further their personal and professional development. One such relationship is a mentoring partnership.

A mentor is someone who offers his or her knowledge, wisdom, and advice to someone with less experience. For example, the junior member in the partnership is a mentee. Both parties receive significant benefits from a successful mentoring partnership. Many observers see mentoring as a highly effective approach to employee motivation and retention.

Although many business organizations have mentor programs, mentoring is not unique to the business world. Mentors have been around for centuries to help people reach their educational, professional, and personal goals. You may have had someone in your life who was instrumental in helping you reach your long term goals. Your mentor may have been a friend, relative, or business acquaintance.

Mentoring is similar to coaching, but is a broader, more holistic process. In contrast to mentors, coaches have professional training and qualifications and are usually paid for their services.

The Mentoring Process

Businesses implement mentoring programs for a variety of reasons, including new employee orientation as well as employee development and retention. Organizations can match mentors with mentees through a formal program or on a more informal basis. Mentors are chosen based on their background and experience rather than their specific position or job title. The matching process is very important to the success of the mentoring partnership, and various tools are available to facilitate a good match.

Mentors serve as advisors and role models for mentees. They share their knowledge, experience, and network of professional contacts with someone who is at an earlier stage in his or her career. The mentor's guidance can help the junior member of the partnership develop their skills, achieve career success, and maintain job satisfaction. In some cases, the mentoring partnership is mutual, where both parties guide and support each other. In all cases, the mentoring partnership must be grounded in trust and respect in order to benefit both parties.

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