Reciprocal Mentoring: a win-win situation for mentor AND mentee

22 Mar 2018

Thinking back over your career, who have been those people who guided you through those most challenging obstacles? Lifted you up during the tough times? And promoted your strengths and attributes when it counted the most?

All this – and more – is the role of a mentor.  Whether an “official” mentoring relationship, or a less formal support arrangement, the benefits of mentoring in terms of helping the mentee to progress their career have long been understood.

Now new research is also uncovering the additional benefits to the mentor of reciprocal mentoring.

This Harvard Business Review article published last week highlights what we find in our own WiBF Mentoring Program: that mentorships in which the mentor and mentee play complimentary roles, leading to career and personal development for both parties, have the greatest impact.

In her research on reciprocal mentorship, Belle Rose Ragins discovered that while mentors, by definition, have more experience in the profession, mentees bring their own insights, life experiences, and talents to the table. Mentors in these high-quality partnerships value and are influenced by their mentee’s perspective.

In the case of our WiBF Mentoring Program, it’s always been a key objective that our mentees receive a transformational career development experience. What is also encouraging, however, is the feedback we receive from male mentors about the “lightbulb moments” that come from truly engaging with women who are bumping up against structural barriers and glass ceilings they never even knew existed!
This is reciprocal mentoring at its best.

Author bio
As the newly appointed CEO of Women in Banking and Finance, Jen Dalitz is responsible for activating the WiBF vision, which is to support our member organisations in growing and promoting the talent pipeline of professional women in the industry.