Why mentorship works

Martin PerminMartin Permin
ยท1 min read

Scientists have long studied the most effective ways to learn.

The conclusions? Exactly what you might expect: if you want to learn French, go to France. If you want to improve your golf handicap, play golf. If you want to ace the SAT, get a tutor.

Basically: you get better by doing things. This is also true for your work life. Most people get better at their jobs over the course of their careers.

But what if you can't wait to be better? What if you need to learn fast? To meet a goal? Land a new project? Ace a new role?

In that case, mentorship might help.

In 1984, educational Psychologist Benjamin Bloom reported a finding now known as Bloom's 2 Sigma Problem. He observed that students who received one-on-one tutoring performed two standard deviations better on tests. This is true for most disciplines.

You might think of mentorship as tutoring for your professional life.

Instead of a full-time teacher, it's more practical to learn from someone who's does a similar job, but further up the career level.

This is because learning from a current practitioner ensures that you're getting the best of what other people have already figured out. The current best practices.

Another benefit of learning from a practitioner is that there simply might be not resources about how to do your precisely your job. Ever wanted to learn from someone who's been in exactly your position? Mentorship is just that.

Accountability is another reason that mentorship works. We've all felt the frustration of attempting to learn something new, but struggling to figure out the next step, and keep ourselves to it. Talking to a mentor on a regular schedule will help track your progress and keep your momentum going.

In summary, mentorship works because:

  • One-on-one is the most effective learning style.
  • A mentor knows exactly how to do your job well.
  • Scheduled conversations keep you accountable and disciplined in your learning.

Ready to find a mentor for you, or someone on your team? Sign up here.