Why leaders who are mentored outperform those who aren’t

by Ron Carucci, Reprinted from Forbes

Mentoring matters. This may not seem particularly groundbreaking in and of itself, yet it is still a factor that is all too commonly overlooked by entrepreneurs and other business leaders, particularly those in senior positions.

However, as Dr. Ruth Gotian and Andy Lopata argue in Mentoring: A Complete Guide to Effective Mentoring, “Just because you have reached a senior level, it doesn’t mean that you have all of the answers. You should certainly be able to handle challenges better than somebody who doesn’t have your experience but you can still benefit from different perspectives and insights. Becoming an executive can be isolating. None of your reports necessarily understand, nor care about, the pressures you are facing. That is where a mentor is critical.

“Even the world’s leading athletes have coaches to fine-tune their approach and to help them achieve even better results.”

Mentoring isn’t a “nice to have.” It should be viewed as essential by all leaders, in large part because mentoring enables them to outperform their peers who don’t take advantage of mentor relationships.

The Numbers Behind The ‘Why’ Of Mentorship

If you’re skeptical of how mentorship could help you, a simple look at the numbers could change your mind. A survey by the American Society for Training and Development found that 75% of executives considered mentoring to have played a critical role in their career development. Other research indicates that U.S. businesses that receive mentorship assistance are able to increase their annual revenue by 83%, compared to just 16% for non-mentored businesses.

Research has also consistently highlighted that regardless of their level at a company, people with mentors typically report higher job satisfaction and even improvements to their quality of life.

As Shaffy Yaqubi, head clinical skills trainer at the London Center for Medical Sciences & Research explained during a recent conversation, “Most of us understand that working with a quality mentor can be a major boon during the early stages of our careers. But the benefits of mentorship don’t disappear as we advance to become leaders ourselves. The most successful leaders in any industry are never stagnant. They want to put in the work to continue improving, and mentors are one of the best resources for achieving those desired results.”

Despite the clearly defined benefits of using a mentor, many leaders feel reluctant to ask for help. This can stem from a variety of places. An entrepreneur could easily become too prideful and not think they need any assistance. Conversely, they might feel ashamed or embarrassed at the idea of asking for help, thinking it will reflect poorly on their achievements.