When you think of the word mentorship, we know what you're probably thinking. A long-term relationship between someone who's starting a career and someone who's coming to the end of one. Possibly you're imagining it to be between a junior employee and a senior executive at their company.
And that is certainly one type of mentorship. But it's not the only option - in fact, it's not even the best option.
To answer these questions, let's look at traditional mentorships once again. The benefits are obvious - so obvious, in fact, that 71% of Fortune 500 companies use mentoring to ensure learning takes place in their organizations. 77% specifically report that mentoring helps retention and employee engagement at work.
But there's a catch. Or several.
What if you don't work at a company that offers a mentorship program? What if you do but the mentor whose advice you could most benefit from isn't available? What if you're an entrepreneur who wants objective advice on an issue your board members don't have expertise in?
You could reach out to your personal network of connections to find a mentor. But what if you were so busy building a career that you never built that network?
Or - and this is a big one - what if you're a woman, a person of color or a member of a minority group and there is no old boys' club for you to turn to? It's an unfair truth that many people who have access to mentorships are already in a position of privilege.
At Upnotch, we believe that mentorships and knowledge sharing are crucial for entrepreneurs, executives, future leaders and even existing industry leaders.
That's why we advocate for 3 different types of mentorships.
(1) One-off Mentorships: where a leader, entrepreneur or executive is looking for specific advice and uses our app to connect with someone who can help with that exact project or goal.
(2) On-going Mentorships: where a mentor and mentee continue to meet over a period of time to discuss different projects and goals. BUT this does not necessarily have to be on a set schedule and should be based on what's actually going on. If there are lots of issues to discuss, meet every week. If you're executing ideas you already got advice on, meet once a month - or even once a quarter.
(3) On-demand Mentorships: where someone who needs advice or has a specific question can use Upnotch to reach out to an expert for help with those issues.
Dealing with Misconceptions
There are so many misconceptions of what mentorship should be. But we want to help people move past that.
The people involved in Upnotch mentorships don't necessarily have to be at the start and end of their careers - one of them just has to have a specific set of skills or experience that the other wants to learn from e.g. a CEO at a growing company who wants to speak to an HR guru to discuss talent acquisition.
They can also be reciprocal. A technology entrepreneur can offer advice to a Senior Executive in the same industry who wants to keep his ear to the ground. And that same executive can provide invaluable guidance to the entrepreneur on leadership and growth.
And then there's the elephant in the room. Time. Whether you're a CEO of a large company or a Founder on the cusp of a growth explosion, no one has enough time.
Cultivating relationships with mentors for years and years before you ever ask for their advice is a luxury. Most of us don't have the resources in relationship capital or time to do this.
And even when there is a great match between two people, time is still an issue. Meeting with the same mentor for multiple hours, several times a week or month can be really time-consuming and tricky to schedule.
The Solution to All Your Problems.
Our answer is simple. It's Tinder meets LinkedIn!
Don't have just one mentor - have several. Each with their own specific expertise. So if you're a leader trying to solve a Marketing issue this week, reach out to your Marketing mentor. If you're thinking about Sales, reach out to a Sales Mentor. Engineering? Engineer mentor!
And be flexible! You don't have to meet on a rigorous schedule. Decide what works for you. Maybe that's a loose schedule and maybe that's only specifically when there's an issue that needs to be discussed.
As a mentee, multiple mentors to discuss different topics at different times is a no-brainer. Suddenly you find yourself with access to a personal advisory board of objective, unbiased, knowledgeable and experienced mentors who you can trust and rely on.
And as a mentor? The impact you make is exponentially greater because you're helping more and more people in the same amount of time.
Want to learn more?
Upnotch can help to deliver powerful, impactful mentorship to individuals and organizations.