It’s that time of year. February may bring cold temperatures, snow, and ice, but it also brings Valentine’s Day, roses, chocolate, and those little bears dressed as bees telling you to “Bee Mine.” It’s the perfect time to reflect on those most important to us; the ones who support us, who encourage us, who get us. Our mentors, of course. Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “What I need is someone who will make me do what I can.” Mentors not only push us to do what we can; with their help, the boundaries of our capabilities expand. With their help, we can do more.
The Power of a Mentoring Relationship
Why is having a mentor so valuable? At-risk youth who are mentored perform better academically, with particular boosts in science, writing, and oral communication. They stay in school, and while they are there, they’re really there. They’re engaged and positive. It’s less likely these kids will initiate drug and alcohol use or act out violently. Mentees improve relationships with family and become more adept at handling relationships and social interactions.
The benefits for those in business are just as profound. Mentees in the corporate world earn more and are more likely to have advanced degrees. They are also more satisfied with their work and more likely to mentor others. The fundamentals of effective mentoring are much the same whether the mentee is a child or teen or an executive. Good mentors:
- Bring their knowledge and experience to the table.
- Listen without judgment.
- Guide and offer advice.
- Help you make good connections.
- Are committed to your growth and development.
I have been the beneficiary of wonderful mentoring throughout my life, from my childhood, when my father encouraged me to pursue a career in finance and business, to the men and women in my life today from whom I seek wisdom and advice. Returning the favor, mentoring others, is just as much of a rewarding learning experience.
A mentoring relationship, just like any relationship, should be reciprocal and respectful, while helping you become a better person and leader. This February, commit to seeking out the support of a mentor and/or acting as one yourself. It will help you do more, and be more.
- Even – especially – top executives need the support and guidance of a mentor.
- CEOs need reliable advice, and an opportunity to understand the underlying dynamics of their company’s growth and profitability. BottomLine Growth Strategies helps educate CEOs on how to read their financials and how to interpret the stories that those financials tell about the business.
- When companies grow, their needs increase and become more complex. This can push the boundaries of a CFO or controller’s experience and/or skill set. We can work side-by-side with existing financial teams, using our experience in working with growth companies to help them learn to cope with the new business reality they’re facing. This approach helps the CFO and controllers accelerate their learning – and it gives the CEO confidence in his or her team’s financial expertise.
- CEOs need mentors, too, to discuss not only financial matters but the overall direction of the companies, their leadership styles, their strengths and weaknesses. It’s lonely at the top, and finding the best people to advise and guide can alleviate a lot of the uncertainty or anxiety of leadership. Options included a one-on-one mentor, a peer advisory group, and/or a board of mentors.
Through our Board of Mentors service offering, we help CEOs select and develop a team of advisers who help them leverage significant opportunities. These people have been in the shoes of the CEO, and their experience and expertise is invaluable.