Why Is Mentoring So Crucial In Today’s Workplace?

Jul 02, 2018 1 Min Read

Oprah Winfrey, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Bob Dylan and Quincy Jones owe their success stories to a shared experience – all of them had mentors to guide them in their careers.

It’s easy to think of such people as being “self-made”.

To a degree, they were, but none of them, talented as they each are, could say for sure that the same success they have enjoyed would exist without the guidance from someone who had been there before them.

Why are mentors so important? 

Mentors are invaluable, as they push us to see our latent potential, and encourage us to unleash our talents and capabilities to the fullest.

What’s more, they offer us glimpses into their past experiences, so that we may avoid the pitfalls they’ve encountered along the way.

That doesn’t mean that our journey will be plain sailing. However, having someone to show us how to side-step common mistakes certainly makes the path ahead much smoother.

Mentors also provide us with a solid sounding board, off which we are able to bounce ideas. They also help us to navigate our struggles and frustrations, and at the same time, fuel the fires of our curiosity and passion.

When we have someone beside us who has travelled a similar path to the one we are on, it’s like having our own personal library at hand whenever we need a quick reference point to help us overcome obstacles.

The actor Will Smith, once alluded to the importance of mentors when he talked about reading (mentors may also come in book form).

Smith said, “There have been gazillions of people that have lived before all of us. There’s no new problem you could have – with your parents, with school, with a bully. There’s no new problem that someone hasn’t already had…”

They are a necessity, not a luxury

In these increasingly competitive times, mentors can become the whetstone (sharpening stone) that gives us the edge over the competition.

They are the ones who offer us the inside track, hone our critical thinking skills and tackle challenges head-on, ensuring that we are well-equipped for the job that lies ahead.

Most importantly, mentors help us to build beyond who we are, and to see the things we are capable of.

The power of mentoring is perhaps summed up best by Winfrey, who said, “A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.”

As many successful people know, hope is a mighty force that can lead us to our greatest achievements and build a powerful legacy.

READ: Try It In Reverse – Mentoring Success Hinges On “What’s In It For Me?”

3 benefits of mentoring

Helps people to focus and take charge of their career 

How many drivers learn to drive without an instructor? How many pianists are self-taught to Grade 8 level?

While it’s not impossible to learn these skills without instruction, it’s much more beneficial to be shown the ropes by someone who’s already been there.

For a start, fewer mistakes are made, and obstacles are easier to overcome when someone who has travelled the same path shows us how it’s done.

We take instruction in so many areas of our lives – it makes sense that we should give our careers the same level of consideration, given how important it is to us.

Mentoring improves networking

A mentor will inevitably introduce their mentee to acquaintances who will be relevant and useful in their journey of development and growth.

A vital part of career success is the relationships we are able to build, and a resourceful mentor will likely have cultivated a wide network of connections within their industry.

Mentees who are introduced to other figures in their field can only stand to gain from the additional pearls of wisdom.

Builds confidence and interpersonal skills 

Interacting with others and establishing relationships naturally develops communication and interpersonal skills.

With “soft skills” said to be lacking in fresh graduates and young professionals, this is one of the key benefits that come with having a mentor.

Besides the interactions with others, mentors tend to routinely nudge mentees out of their comfort zones, which helps to build confidence quickly as new challenges are tackled.

Share This


Sandy is a former Leaderonomics editor and is now a freelance writer based in Malaysia, and previously enjoyed 10 years as a journalist and broadcaster in the UK. As editor of www.leaderonomics.com, he has been fortunate to gain valuable insights into what makes us tick, which has deepened his interests in leadership, emotions, mindfulness, and human behaviour.

You May Also Like

palm holding leaves

A Nondisruptive Approach to the Environment

By W. Chan Kim, Renée Mauborgne and Mi Ji. Explore how companies are addressing environmental challenges and creating green solutions without causing disruption.

Sep 18, 2023 7 Min Read

Brown Shovel

Futuristic Enterprise EP9: Cherrie Atilano

Cherrie Atilano, President and Founding Farmer of Agrea Philippines and Co-Founder of Hatienda Holdings Inc., shares about Agrea's one island economy model.

Sep 21, 2021 0 Min Podcast


Making Your Dreams Come True For A Higher Purpose

In this CEO BizChat session, Tiara Jacquelina shares her journey of entrepreneurship and how she keeps ahead of the game in paving the way for the Malaysian performing arts to thrive.

Feb 13, 2018 19 Min Video

Be a Leader's Digest Reader