The Top 6 Misconceptions of Mentorship


Many organizations believe that informal mentorship programs are enough. 

In truth, while these programs represent a good start, truly cultivating a culture of mentorship is how organizations and employees can thrive. 

However, this is just one common misconception about mentorship. Implementing the practice of mentorship within your business means confronting the misconceptions about mentorship that might hinder your success. 

In this article, we’ll debunk some of the top mentorship misconceptions, so you can make informed decisions that help your business and mentorship program flourish.

Myths & Truths: The Practice of Mentorship

Regardless of your industry or size, mentorship can be leveraged to elevate your business and jumpstart measurable positive changes. In fact, mentorship programs can serve as powerful solutions to many of the problems that businesses face in their growth stages. 

That’s why it’s important to understand the facts about mentorship, rather than being misled by misconceptions.

To help set the record straight, we’ve broken down the most common mentorship misconceptions and the facts about mentorship.

Misconception: Mentorship can’t deliver hard business results.

By the numbers, investing in your employees’ growth through programs such as mentorship can reduce the turnover rate by 40%, increase employee engagement by 38%, and increase the revenue generated by an employee by twofold. 

Here’s a breakdown of the measurable effects of mentorship: 

  • Increase Talent Retention: Mentorship offers employees a clear roadmap to grow in their role and the company. Moreover, mentorship can help companies secure top talent at the beginning stages of their career. With the promise of a strong start and company support, talent will be incentivized to remain with your organization.
  • Enhance Productivity: One of the goals of mentorship is to help employees, or community members, improve in their role by acquiring and honing new skills. This helps them to become much more productive employees and handle tasks more efficiently with the direct guidance and support of another team member.
  • Improve Employee Engagement: When employees are a part of a mentorship program, they take an active role in the improvement of those around them. They may also foster stronger relationships with their team and mentees. Overall, when employees feel strongly connected to those around them, employee engagement rates soar.

Misconception: You only need one mentor in your life.

While a single mentor can make a major difference in someone’s life, there’s absolutely no reason that a mentee should be limited in the number of mentors they connect with. In today’s environment, everyone should have a network of mentors to help them navigate the various challenges and experiences associated with being a young professional. 

A network of mentors translates to a network of professionals — each with unique experiences and a set of skills to learn. There’s nothing more valuable than learning from someone else’s firsthand experiences and cultivating an enriched global outlook fueled by the diverse experiences of others. Not to mention, having a broad network of mentors serves to alert you to emerging trends and opportunities.

Misconception: Mentors should be more senior than you.

This is one of the most common misconceptions of mentorship, which stems from the traditional view of a mentor as a significantly older individual guiding a younger individual. It’s easy to see why this misconception has thrived for so long — older professionals have a wealth of experience and skills cultivated over the length of their careers to pass onto the younger generation. 

However, there’s no reason that there needs to be a hierarchy to mentorship. In fact, the foundation of mentorship is based on experience, not age. The practice of mentorship is the most successful when individuals with different experiences come together to help one another. 

As a result, a person of any age can fill a mentor role (provided they meet the other requirements of a good mentor). For example, a younger professional can help a senior executive learn new skills, such as navigating and leveraging social media.

Misconception: Mentorship is just a one-to-one conversation.

Traditionally, mentorship has been viewed as a relationship between two individuals who regularly connect and engage in one-on-one conversations. However, despite the traditional view of mentorship being the most well-known, group mentorship is a powerful mentorship solution.

Sharing experiences, helping another person solve a problem, and providing support for another person are all crucial elements of mentorship. 

In a group mentorship environment, the scope of impact is exponentially expanded with each individual who joins the group. There are more experiences to share, more people to provide support, and more people available to help you solve your problem. The simple fact is that there is power in numbers.

Misconception: Mentorship takes a long time.

There’s no limit to the length of a mentorship relationship. The length of a mentorship relationship generally boils down to enough time. For example, a professional might seek out a mentor to help them land a job in their chosen field. The relationship might end when the professional is hired. 

In another scenario, a mentorship relationship might take as little as one or two conversations that help a mentee get “unstuck” and solve their problem. Depending on the circumstances, a mentorship relationship can exist as a single conversation and never move beyond that. On the reverse end, a mentorship relationship can last a lifetime.

Misconception: People already know how to mentor.

While some people may naturally fill a mentorship role with ease, it’s a rarity. Most people can take on a mentorship role without knowing how to effectively mentor another person. That’s because there’s a lot more to mentorship than meets the eye.

That’s why it’s crucial for any business implementing a mentorship program to organize the program in a way that employs systematic processes to engage people in the process that delivers direct business value.

Debunk the Misconceptions of Mentorship With Mentor Spaces 

Partnering with a program like Mentors Spaces can help you maximize your business’s mentorship program by implementing solutions and processes designed to foster a true culture of mentorship. Want to learn more? Get in touch today!