August 31, 2023
Bottom line is mentorship needs change! Why it's time to grow with co-mentorship?

Traditional mentorship can be viewed as a power-imbalanced, limiting & one-sided relationship that doesn't allow for mutual learning & diverse perspectives. Co-mentorship, on the other hand, allows for a two-way learning experience where both the mentee & the mentor can learn from each other regardless of their age or experience. It allows for the sharing of diverse perspectives, ideas & skills that can lead to more innovative & inclusive thinking.

January 17th of every year marks International Mentorship Day

Traditional Mentorship is defined as the influence, guidance, or direction given by a mentor. A mentor is someone who teaches or gives help & advice to a less experienced & often younger person. (Stamper)

The idea is that a mentor, a “more knowledgeable” typically older & more experienced person shares wisdom with someone who is “less knowledgeable”, influencing the personal & professional growth of the mentee.

In this blog we’re going to explain why we don’t like the concept of traditional mentorship but also we’re going to offer a much better, more beneficial, more SIRA fit alternative. 

But first why it needs to change.

The unbalanced power dynamic!

Traditional mentorship can create an unbalanced dynamic where the mentor has all the power & the mentee is expected to simply accept their advice without question. This can lead to the mentee feeling ignored, dismissed or condescended to. It creates an environment where the mentee is not able to contribute their own ideas & perspectives.

It’s condescending!

Traditional mentorship can be condescending, with the mentor talking down to the mentee & not valuing their input or that their ideas are not being taken seriously.

It’s too one-sided!

Traditional mentorship is too one-sided where the mentor is only giving advice & not actively listening & learning from the mentee. It does not allow for mutual learning opportunities, which can be unfulfilling & not beneficial for the mentor. In this step, the mentor misses out on opportunities to learn & grow themselves. It can restrict the mentor's exposure to diverse perspectives & ideas, which can be limiting for their own understanding of the world.

Enter the SIRA-fied version of mentorship. A concept that allows for more diverse perspectives, an inclusive environment, & equal opportunity for growth. 

Drum roll please…. CO-MENTORSHIP!

In co-mentorship both the mentor & mentee are actively engaged in learning from one another. It recognizes that both parties have valuable knowledge & skills to share, & it creates a more equal & empowering relationship.

The balanced power dynamic!

Co-mentorship is less hierarchical & focuses on mutual learning & growth, rather than a one-way knowledge transfer. It recognizes that both the mentor & mentee have valuable knowledge & skills to share, & it creates a more equal & empowering relationship.

It’s collaborative!

In co-mentorship, both parties are engaged in learning from one another, work together to set goals & objectives, & actively strive to achieve them. This approach allows for a more collaborative & inclusive experience, where both parties can benefit from the diversity of perspectives & ideas. 

It’s two sided!

Co-mentorship emphasizes mutual learning. Both parties bring their own unique perspectives & experiences to the table, & the relationship is characterized by a shared desire to learn & grow. It allows for a two-way learning experience where both parties can benefit from the knowledge & experience of the other.

It bridges the generational gap!

Co-mentorship creates opportunities for people of different ages & experiences to learn from one another. For example, a younger mentee may be more familiar with the latest technologies & can offer a fresh perspective, while an older mentor may have more life experience & a different perspective on problem-solving, which can be valuable for the younger mentee to learn.

It helps promote understanding & respect across generations & allows for open communication & the sharing of diverse perspectives, which can help to break down stereotypes & biases. By working together, both parties can gain a better understanding of the experiences & challenges of people from different generations. 

Shifting the focus from traditional mentorship to co-mentorship can create a more empowering & fulfilling experience for both the mentor & the mentee. 

It can help break down traditional power dynamics, bridge the generational gap by creating opportunities for mutual learning, promote understanding & respect, & encourage the sharing of diverse perspectives. Which can lead to more inclusive & innovative thinking. 

So do you get why at SIRA we’re big fans of co-mentorship? Our community is built on the connection & the sharing of knowledge of vastly diverse professionals. A culture of co-mentorship is what allows us to learn from one another & continuously grow.

Let us know your views on co-mentorship & if you’re looking to learn from others in a collaborative environment such as ours, apply to join our community.

Follow us for more collaborative takes in the professional environment.

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Zara M. Najjar

Co-Founder & Opportunity Driver @ SIRA
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