The research basically said that senior managers often felt less stressed and more able to face complicated decisions after having a meeting with the person they were mentoring as a result of having spent time investing in someone else's life and development.
It also made me start thinking about what criteria make up a successful mentor. Definitely the criteria will change at least a bit across purposes, people and contexts, but surely there are some commonalities too. There is a bunch of academic research and pop-literature on the topic of mentors especially in relation to professional development, but I have some ideas of my own too.
- A mentor should be able to act like an editor - constructively question and criticise elements of the mentee's development, behaviour and attitudes.
- A mentor should be able to cast vision and act as a 'thought-planter'.
- A mentor should be able to set pace, but also adapt their agenda and style to meet the feedback from the mentee.
So even though a mentor-mentee relationship is usually one on one, now that I've written that list out, remind me again how mentors are different from leaders?