Why cross-company mentoring is a win-win

by L&D01 Nov 2016
Formal cross-company mentoring is where a mentee is specifically matched with a mentor from a non-competing company.

It is a tool that can be used for people at any level because the match is specifically for the individual.

However, having the right partnership results in growth for both parties, Kathleen Pytleski, CEO of Sekstant – a US-based management consulting firm – told the Star Tribune.

“Mentors want to give back and mentees get to be the sponge,” she wrote.

“Being from noncompeting companies, they can feel free to be candid, adding a significant benefit to the confidential mentoring partnership.”

Below, she outlines the ways in which this practice pays off for all involved.
Benefits for the mentee:
  1. A mentor from a noncompeting company provides an outside perspective that can be valuable helping him/her within their own company.
  2. They benefit from a mentor whose experience has taken her/him down the path the mentee is now trying to navigate.
  3. The mentee learns how to accept feedback in important areas such as communication, leadership, and change ¬management. It comes from someone who has no ulterior motive other than to help the mentee develop.
  4. The mentor can help the mentee better understand how to navigate the culture of an organisation and its politics.
  5. It is hands-on learning and development with someone solely dedicated to the -mentee's growth.
Benefits for the mentor:
  1. It's reciprocal learning; mentors learn a great deal from their mentees.
  2. It reminds the mentor to listen actively. It's not about them (the mentor), it's all about the mentee and how the mentor can help the ¬mentee develop.
  3. Mentors strengthen their interpersonal skills.
  4. Mentors gain personal satisfaction from helping another professional develop and it helps them be better mentors within their own company.
  5. Mentors are reminded of what people at the level of the mentee are going through in their own companies. They gain perspective from the mentee's challenges.
Benefits for the companies:
  1. The mentee's company benefits from having an employee who is actively growing in her/his career and preparing for the next level or a leadership role feeding the succession pipeline.
  2. Most mentees become more engaged with their work and company.
  3. Both mentee and mentor bring new perspectives to their work and company.
  4. The mentor becomes more effective and many times becomes a better leader and mentor within his/her own company.
  5. The mentoring company facilitates the partnership. This is especially beneficial for smaller companies with limited talent development or HR resources.

Talent development takes many forms. Cross-company mentoring makes it interactive, safe and confidential. Both mentees and mentors gain skills, perspective, and enhance their leadership capabilities in ways never imagined.

If you have never been a mentor, you should. If you've never been a mentee, give it a try. Anyone can be a mentor and/or mentee at a particular time.

No matter which role you choose at any one time, look at it as an opportunity for your personal and professional growth. You'll never regret it.