What Is Executive Mentoring? Definition and Benefits

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published April 25, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

An executive mentor can provide comfort, skills, connections and an overall positive experience for professionals entering a new role or industry. Finding and working with a mentor promotes growth and development for both employees and organizations. Professionals looking to develop their careers and gain knowledge for a new role may look to establish a relationship with executive mentors within the company. In this article, we discuss the definition and benefits of executive mentoring and provide a comparison of mentoring and coaching programs and tips for finding a mentor.

What is executive mentoring?

Executive mentoring refers to experienced and high-level employees working directly with new employees to teach and demonstrate the skills, knowledge and duties of a role or organization. The mentor and mentee develop a relationship and work together to produce work and improve operations. They often provide feedback, assistance and resources to support and increase the development of their mentee. A mentor uses knowledge from their time and experience in the role or industry to provide strategy, tips and guidance.

Related: 10 Reasons Why You Need a Mentor

What are the benefits of executive mentoring?

Finding and working with an executive mentor in your role or organization can offer many benefits for developing your skills, career and overall work life. Here are some advantages of receiving executive mentoring:

Professional development

Working with an executive mentor provides constant opportunities for professional development. Your mentor may share insight, perspective and advice from their own experiences and time in a role and industry. Gaining applicable and realistic guidance allows you to apply the new ideas to your work style and can offer new frameworks, strategies and goals for your personal professional development.

Related: How Do Professional Development Programs Work? (Plus Types)

Increased performance

Having access and connections to a mentor can increase your performance and productivity by providing you with a direct source for answers and help. A mentor also teaches the processes, reasoning and goals of an organization's structure, which can make the problem-solving and decision-making processes more efficient for new employees. The additional information and training you get from your mentor work to provide a better idea of the expectations of your role and performance.

Professional networking

New employees can benefit from connecting and interacting with coworkers, managers and executives in the workplace. Establishing a mentoring relationship provides the opportunity to connect with and relate to employees who have more authority and experience. Some mentors also take the time to introduce and connect you to other executives or managers to further your interactions and relationships. Networking with more experienced employees within the organization provides more insight, advice and opportunities by giving you access to the processes of higher-level structures.

Constructive feedback

When beginning a new position, receiving feedback helps you refine your skills and strengthens your understanding of the expectations. A mentor works to offer you constructive feedback about the processes, quality and handling of your duties. Their experience gives them the ability to assess your work accurately and provide constructive guidance. The nature of a mentoring relationship can ensure that your feedback appears friendly and helpful.

Related: 9 Questions To Ask Your Mentor

Executive mentoring vs. coaching

Executive mentors and coaches both work in one-on-one settings to connect with and guide less-experienced employees, but the two training methods contain a few differences. Here are some factors that differ between executive mentoring and coaching processes:

Involvement

Mentors devote constant and thorough energy and input to their mentee. A mentor works to understand the circumstances, emotions and experiences of employees under their leadership by making a personal connection. Mentors have the ability to contribute more input and involvement by using and referring to their experience and knowledge as new or entry-level employees.

An executive coach provides input and energy to support trainees, but a coach may encourage employees to use resources and develop ideas independently. Coaches also have less experience and direct involvement with the operations and structures of the organization because they work as external departments or employees. Executive coaching provides training and information but offers less input or feedback during the development process.

Focus

The focus of a mentor includes promoting the development, understanding and satisfaction of new employees. They work to offer both practical and emotional guidance to help employees acclimate to the company and position. Executive mentoring places focus and emphasis on the goals and relationships of employees.

Coaching processes work to develop and teach new skills rather than providing guidance and perspective. A coach may train employees to teach and apply both technical and soft skills according to the policies and needs of the organization. Coaching programs focus solely on skills and procedures and encourage trainees to develop goals, strategies and relationships independently.

Related: Mentoring, Coaching and Counseling: What's the difference?

Tips for finding a mentor

Follow these tips to find a mentor who can help you develop your career and provide the necessary resources:

  • C**onsider experience:** A mentor with more experience has greater perspective, stories and wisdom to share. You may aim to find a mentor with years of experience in your field, organization and practice to ensure you receive a wide range of advice and guidance.

  • Connect with executives: Executive mentoring includes connecting and meeting with professionals in executive positions to find and begin a relationship. You can use a company directory, org chart or employee messaging system to identify and contact executives about a potential mentorship.

  • S**et your goals:** Setting a goal for your desired skills, training and development can help you choose and meet with potential mentors who have the knowledge, experience and resources to guide you. You can also share your goals with coworkers and potential mentors to identify candidates.

  • Discuss your values: Mentorship includes personal relationships and connections. Discussing your values for both professional and personal environments and boundaries allows you to find and align yourself with a mentor who understands or shares your views to form a closer connection.

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