Have you ever had a business mentor? If you have—and your experience was positive—then you understand how much you can gain from regular contact with someone who has been where you’d like to go.
Now, have you ever thought about mentorship from the flip side? Most mentors say they get as much from the experience as their mentee does. In fact, some say it helps them build their leadership skills or emotional intelligence. Others describe learning new things in their industry or about business at large—or deepening their understanding of lessons they’ve already learned.
“Everyone has a unique view of the world, and their experiences can help fast track your growth,” explains EO Brisbane member Gerard Murtagh, who has experienced both sides of the mentorship equation, thanks to EO Mentorship.
“We just need to be open-minded and take it all in. I look forward to helping my mentee grow while learning from them how they run their business,” Murtagh says.
What Is EO Mentorship?
Aimed at high-level leadership and personal development, the EO Mentorship program features a 10- to 12-month structured relationship that helps mentees make progress toward their goals with support from mentors who offer education and engagement. While EO helps facilitate the application and matching process, mentees drive the relationships.
Mentors and mentees connect in person or virtually for up to three hours per month—concluding with a celebration of achievements at the end of the year. Beyond that, the teams set their own plans within the EO Mentorship framework.
Early-stage or younger entrepreneurs sometimes seek more expert reflections from their mentors, while later-stage mentees sometimes desire an exchange between equals. Regardless of specifics, mentees and mentors are encouraged to define the relationship and communication expectations at the start, to help ensure long-term clarity and success.
What do you gain as a mentor?
“I learned to ask questions rather than provide answers. To problem-solve less; to listen more. To reflect more on my own path, learnings and experiences,” says EO Germany – Berlin member Max Maendler.
“At the beginning, I expected to be on the giving side,” agrees EO Switzerland – Zurich member and first-time mentor Jürg “Gogo” Schumacher. “Very quickly, I found that I was receiving a lot. My listening and questioning skills have significantly sharpened.”
“Being a good mentor is possibly the most important leadership skill for any entrepreneur,” Maendler adds. “This is a field where you can test and train your skills. The experience helps any entrepreneur who wants to learn and grow, no matter what stage.”
Why mentor through EO?
EO Mentorship provides unique opportunities unmatched by many other programs. EO’s global reach gives mentors and mentees the chance to connect across chapters and borders, and to meet at EO events.
“My most memorable moment was seeing my mentee in person for the first time after 12 months of video calls, and realizing he’s a foot taller than I am!” laughs Maendler.
Schumacher, who had the opportunity to meet with his mentee in person in Greece and Switzerland, explains, “We are still talking, even a year after the program ended. Therefore, it worked successfully. That our relationship evolved into a friendship is an unexpected gift.”