Study Confirms Mentoring Makes a Significant Difference in Youth Overcoming Pandemic-related Challenges
Seedling Foundation recently released its independent program evaluation conducted by Dr. Karen Looby, an Austin-based researcher and program evaluator with more than 30 years of experience in public education.
The 2020-21 program evaluation compared outcomes for children in several categories including personal development skills, persistence, school engagement, and attendance. The results of the survey show that students who met with a Seedling mentor had significantly higher positive outcomes than students who did not meet with their mentor in the areas of persistence (84.2% vs. 73,3%), student engagement (88% vs.67.3%), and positive attendance outcomes (65.6% vs. 42.1%). The report also states that overall, 87% of Seedling mentees who met with their mentors had three or more positive outcomes on the selected measures.
“We are very proud of our staff and mentors and grateful to the school districts for the hard work and persistence that went into finding effective ways for mentors to meet with mentees last year when mentors were not able to visit campuses. The results for our mentees are remarkable,” said Dan Leal, Seedling Foundation Executive Director.
The program evaluation concludes that “in a year characterized by increased stressors of the pandemic in addition to adverse childhood experiences resulting from the trauma of having an incarcerated parent, mentoring becomes increasingly important in the mitigation of potentially negative impacts,” (Looby, 2021).
The business case for non-traditional talent is well established: A diverse workforce brings varied perspectives, aids employee engagement and enhances a company’s performance and profitability. It is also the key to unlocking and addressing the needs of underserved markets.
Mentorship helps employees master skills that are required to prevent career plateaus and plan for the next level and also helps newer employees come up with potential career options. Research conducted by the Nationwide Retirement Institute confirmed what many diverse professionals have felt for years: 'If I can’t see diverse executives in roles at every level of the corporate ladder, it can be difficult to realistically see myself advancing.' Mentorship is one way to facilitate the kind of career development that will help diverse professionals scale the ladder – and future job candidates and the marketplace will take notice.
If you would like to become a mentor or establish a mentorship program in your organization, consider contacting us to start a mentorship relationship and make meaningful connections.
Entrepreneurs often spend hundreds of hours raising funds from angel and venture capital investors. While these activities are clearly important, analysis of new data on startups suggests that founders should also dedicate significant time to something that many people overlook: recruiting great mentors. This simple strategy can increase a company’s odds of success more than almost anything else.
An analysis by TechCrunch, of the top-performing companies in New York’s tech sector, revealed several interesting patterns. They found that many of the entrepreneurs leading these startups had strong personal connections to the founders of other successful companies. One of the most powerful connections identified in their analysis was mentoring relationships. Top-performing founders such as Chad Dickerson of Etsy and Nat Turner of Flatiron Health have been mentored by other successful entrepreneurs like Caterina Fake from Flickr and Brian O’Kelley of AppNexus. Relationships like these are quite powerful. As the chart above illustrates, 33 percent of founders who are mentored by successful entrepreneurs went on to become top performers. This is over three times better than the performance of other New York-based tech companies.
This pattern of mentorship can also be seen among entrepreneurs outside of New York. When Steve Jobs passed away, Mark Zuckerburg noted that the Apple founder had been an invaluable mentor. The founders of Dropbox, Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi, are mentored by Ali and Hadi Partovi, two successful serial entrepreneurs in the Valley. The benefits of mentorship aren’t limited to entrepreneurship. Research in other fields also shows that good mentors tend to improve the performance of their protégés. However, the magnitude of difference between the performance of companies with successful mentors and companies that lack them suggests that the value of effective mentors for startups may be especially high.
Mentoring is a reciprocal and collaborative at-will relationship that most often occurs between a senior and junior employee for the purpose of the mentee’s growth, learning, and career development. Often the mentor and mentee are internal to an organization, and there is an emphasis on organizational goals, culture, career goals, advice on professional development, and work-life balance. Effective mentors often act as role models and sounding boards for their mentee and provide guidance to help them reach their goals.
Mentoring can be formal or informal. In an informal environment, mentees set goals, but they are usually not measurable and the relationships are unstructured. For a formal mentoring relationship, there are actionable and measurable goals defined and set with determined requirements.
A good mentor can help the mentee become more effective at work, learn new skills, develop greater confidence, and make better decisions for their overall career growth. Mentors report many benefits as well, including satisfaction from seeing others develop; expanded generational and cultural perspectives; strengthening of technical, leadership, and interpersonal skills; and continuing to experience new ideas and insights.
It is well established that those who are mentored out earn and outperform those who are not. A 2019 study out of Olivet Nazarene University shared that 76% of people understand that a mentor is critical for their career success, yet only 37% have one. The issue might be that people are looking for a perfect mentor, which does not exist or partake in the failed mentoring programs plaguing many organizations.
As mentoring is so central to career success, we need to do a better job at being effective mentors and mentees. Remember, when your mentees succeed, you succeed. Your way of thinking, the ideas you have helped crystallize, and your legacy grows with those you mentor. The best mentoring relationships are ones where you get as much as you give!
Selecting a mentor can be one of life's most important decisions. Mentors are crucial whenever people are faced with new phases of their career or life that require the development of new knowledge, skills or attitudes," says mentoring expert Drew Appleby, PhD, professor emeritus at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. "Mentors help people determine who they want to become, how they must change in order to become these people, and how they can take advantage of their college or work experiences to bring about these changes."
Mentoring takes many different forms, ranging from the formal arrangement between a student and adviser in graduate school to informal relationships people develop throughout their careers. Midcareer mentoring is often informal and starts somewhat spontaneously, Appleby says. "You may meet someone, have a conversation and suddenly realize you'd like to be like this person," he says. "If this person shows a genuine interest in you, that is an ideal way for mentoring to begin."
Psychology practitioner Jean Carter, PhD, of Washington, D.C., says a variety of mentors helped her navigate such important transitions as selecting a graduate school and moving from a shared space to her own office. "Informal mentoring can be a single meeting, episodic or ongoing," Carter says. "It can be as simple as one time when you talked to someone who gave you an insight that influenced your career. If you are open to those mentoring moments, they are more likely to happen."