The importance of being a mentor

Mentors come in all shapes and sizes.

To explain the different types of mentors, as well as helping you decide which type YOU want to be, I’m going to use the story of The Lion King.

[For those who haven’t seen it: the story goes that Simba (baby lion cub) is cast out of the pride by his evil uncle (Scar), then gets looked after by a fun-loving meerkat and warthog duo (Timon and Pumbaa) and Simba has an incredible bond with his loving father (Mufasa)].

In life, you might get the fun Timon and Pumbaa double act, a wise Rafiki or you might hit the jackpot and get a Mufasa. Like Simba, we tend to have different mentors at different points of our lives. Some come and go while others might stay around forever.

But we always need one.


And we should always mentor others, too. Both mentor and mentee have a lot to gain from each other. If a balance is kept, then things go well and flow naturally – it’s the circle of life! {CUE THE MUSIC!} But if the mentor/mentee relationship is bad, things can go wrong for everyone.

Here are some examples from my own life to show you why your relationship with your own mentors and mentees have a huge impact on your business…

Timon and Pumbaa


Two of the first mentors I had were my good friends and hilarious double act, Mina and Nina. At the time, I don’t think they or I even realized that what they were doing was mentoring. They took the time to teach me about their roles in event planning and team leadership and I took every opportunity I could find to learn from them.

My mentors gave me:

  • New skills and the opportunity to showcase my abilities
  • Helped me realize that I loved event planning.
  • Valuable experience and knowledge of how to lead and motivate teams of volunteers and how to manage crises and work under intense pressure.

I gave my mentors:

Someone they could trust and delegate important work to, which increased their own productivity and reduced stress.



My next mentor was my manager Tom in the first ‘serious’ job I got after graduating. He was in a senior position at the company and years of experience and knowledge. We’re still in contact and I know that I can always go to him for advice.

My mentor gave me:

  • The opportunity to improve my skills and knowledge by encouraging me do training workshops and to shadow others in the company.
  • Taught me about how things were done in the business and how to deal with complicated plans and senior management.
  • A good working relationship, so I felt confident and highly motivated.

I gave my mentor:

  • The chance to see things from a different perspective and how his work and the company impacted people like my friends and I.
  • The opportunity share his enthusiasm and work interests with someone who was more than keen to hear about them.
  • Someone who could be trusted to help look after VIP international guests visiting the company.
  • A reliable team member who could be trusted to provide a professional service that met the business’s high standards and left him free to handle more senior issues.
  • An employee who was willing to go the extra mile and do whatever was necessary to do a good job. My mentor invested in me and therefore I was totally invested in his goals and making them happen.


I have a third example to share. This one shows what can happen when that fantastic mentor/mentee relationship doesn’t exist.

After working for Tom, I moved to a new company in the hope of developing my career. I’m used to being thrown in at the deep end but this time I was in a new city, a new company and a totally new role. All without a mentor. While I had the skills and enthusiasm they were looking for, my bosses knew I lacked experience. I thought this would mean I’d get additional support – a mentor! I was wrong.

Impact on me:

  • I felt that there was no one I could approach for advice or answers which left me feeling isolated and unconfident.
  • It affected my happiness, health and motivation.
  • It took me a long time to work out how to do things the way the company liked them to be done

Impact on the company:

  • I ended up leaving earlier than I was contracted to because I didn’t want to spend another day in the office and the company was left trying to fill a gap in an already over-stretched team.
  • More work, frustration and stress as I wasn’t fully integrated and up to speed with how things were done.
  • Missed opportunity to take advantage of some of my skills and knowledge which stayed hidden.

Despite all this, I learnt a lot from my experience and figured out how important mentors are!

Who are the mentors and mentees in your life that stand out?

Do you want to be a Rafiki or a Scar?


The Apprentice Program provides you with all the training tools and resources to become a star mentor, as well as training your interns into superhero apprentices.

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