Posted by: christopherfeld | March 5, 2011

Costs and benefits about mentoring

There are a variety of benefits and drawbacks related to mentoring. First, I will discuss the role of mentoring and what mentors provide mentees. Then, I will discuss mentoring vs. coaching, mentee benefits vs. mentee costs, mentor benefits vs. mentor costs, and organizational benefits vs. organizational costs. These concepts are based on Troy Nielson’s MBA Talent Management course class notes, 2011.

The Role of Mentoring

Mentoring plays a developmental relationship for emerging talent. A more experienced individuals offers a less experienced individual with coaching, development, and advice.

What Mentors Provide Mentees

“Managers who feel their company develops them poorly are five times more likely to leave than people who feel their company develops them well.”

Michaels et al., “The War For Talent”

What Mentors Provide Mentees

Career Development

–       Career Guidance/Coaching

–       Skill Development via Stretch Assignments

–       Political Protection

Social Support

–       Building Confidence

–       Friendships and Encouragement

–       Expanding Professional Networks

Role Modeling

–       Professional Standards and Conduct

–       Behavioral Modeling

–       Detailed Feedback


Mentoring vs. Coaching

Focus on Long-term Career Focus on Current Role/Task
Improve Wisdom Improve Specific Skills
Driven More by the Mentee Driven More by the Coach
Often Done by Non-supervisor Often Done by Immediate Supervisor
Conveys More Tacit Wisdom Conveys More Explicit Knowledge


Mentee Benefits vs. Mentee Costs

Faster Promotions Time Investment
Greater Salary Growth Overly Dependent on Mentor
Personal Learning and Skill Development Resentment by Peers
Higher Job Satisfaction Damaged Reputation (If Mentor Fails)
Reputation and Visibility Bad Advice
Balancing Work and Family Demands Better


Mentor Benefits vs. Mentor Costs

Personal Fulfillment Time Investment
Job Rejuvenation Lack of Organizational Reward
Reputation as Developer of Talent (If Mentee Succeeds) Reputation as Destroyer of Talent (If Mentee Fails)
Group of Loyal Supporters (Former Mentees) Threat of Mentee
Enhanced Creativity


Organizational Benefits vs. Organizational Costs

Cost-effective Training and Developmental Approach Can be Divisive if Not Viewed as Fair
Perpetuate Key Routines and Cultural Values Perpetuate Outdated Routines and Values
Attract and retain talented employees May Lose Stars to Competitors Due to Increased Marketability
Leadership Development


  1. […] blogged about the importance of mentoring for one’s personal and career development. You may have heard of others urging you to enlist […]

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