Internal versus external mentoring: go for the best of both
04 November 2020
In today’s fast-changing world, it is critical to learn from the wisdom and mistakes of others as we grow. Mentoring is ranked among the top 5 most-valued approaches to career development, but finding the right mentor isn’t easy.
We recommend developing a portfolio of internal and external mentors that will allow you to take advantage of all the benefits both types have to offer as you grow.
It is important to consider your situation and needs and compare those with the benefits and drawbacks of each type of mentorship.
Effective when you are new to a company (part of the onboarding)
Ideal to explore a move to a new in-house function
An internal mentor can evolve into a sponsor who can open doors for your career
A powerful part of a company’s growth strategy
Internal mentors can bring a strong cultural connection
Limited time commitment by the internal mentor (on top of the normal job)
Impediment to be fully open and honest due to concerns about how you might be perceived and how the internal mentor will handle the info you share
Challenging for internal mentors to separate their fidelity to your company and you as a mentee
If your internal mentor leaves, you could be left empty-handed
The reputation of your internal mentor may negatively impact yours (and the other way around)
Not sustainable if the mentor role is imposed or forced
Objective sounding board not influenced by the corporate culture and political fray
Refreshing different perspective
The mentee is more transparent and open to reveal vulnerabilities and skills gaps
Freedom for the mentee to speak without being judged (safe environment)
Reduces feelings of isolation
Clear time commitment by the mentor
Door to a new network outside your organization.
Unbudgeted cost if not a structural part of the learning & development program
An external mentor is unfamiliar with organizational culture and processes
Combining the benefits of both an internal and external mentor pays off for the mentor, the mentee, and the business.
87% of mentors and mentees feel empowered by their mentoring relationships and have developed greater confidence (Moving Ahead, 2017)
67% of businesses reported an increase in productivity due to mentoring (Mentorsme, 2020)
55% of businesses felt that mentoring had a positive impact on their profits (Mentorsme, 2020)