Do you have a formal mentoring program in your company? If so, you might want to take advantage of it – a recent study (Chun, Sosik, Yun, 2012) found substantial benefits for both mentors and protégés.
TRACKING MENTORS AND PROTÉGÉS
The researchers tracked mentors and their protégés over the duration of a seven-month formal mentoring program and determined the effects of three mentoring functions: psychosocial support, role modeling, and career support. These mentoring functions had more effect on mentors than protégés. When mentors provided more career or psychosocial support to their protégés, the mentors had higher levels of organizational commitment. Mentors also showed enhanced transformational leadership when they provided more career support or role modeling, and they had greater affective well-being when they acted more as role models.
The authors also measured protégé outcomes. When mentors provided more career support, protégés had higher levels of affective well-being and organizational commitment.
BENEFITS FOR MENTORING PROGRAMS
This research suggests that formal mentoring programs have substantial benefits for both mentors and protégés. The fact that mentors showed enhanced transformational leadership as a result of providing career support and acting as role models to protégés indicates that participating in a formal mentoring program could be one form of training or developing leaders. In addition, the more career support and role modeling the mentors provided, the more they developed as transformational leaders. It wasn’t sufficient to just provide some base level of support.
THE BOTTOM LINE FOR ORGANIZATIONS
Providing the three mentoring functions assessed in this study led to positive outcomes for both mentors and protégés. Mentors had higher levels of organizational commitment, enhanced transformational leadership, and greater affective well-being. Protégés had higher levels of affective well-being and organizational commitment. In all, leaders who want their organizations to gain a competitive advantage may want to consider mentoring programs to make their organizations more successful.
Chun, J. U., Sosik, J. J., & Yun, N. Y. (2012). A longitudinal study of mentor and protégé outcomes in formal mentoring relationships. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 33, 1071-1094.