Is mentorship supposed to be free?
To pay or not to pay:
that is the question
One of my previous blog posts has already mentioned one source on the internet naming off the differences between mentoring and coaching. The author pointed there that coaching specialists are accredited, while the mentors are not. (Not true. More about it in my post “How to choose a mentor? Accreditation).
Another difference the author talked about was that coaching is a paid service, while mentoring is free. Once again, not valid.
Voluntary / Paid Mentoring’s topic has already been sitting in my list of themes to talk about. But it would always be delayed. Since I always thought, maybe I should not write about money.
However, today, after one of my comments on LinkedIn about mentoring, I received a private message that asked: What I thought about paid mentoring. Doesn’t it go against its philosophy?
That comment flew me to the past, in Barcelona.
In these strange times, only with memories and thoughts can I go there ☹.
The trip to the past
A few years ago, at an international conference, the speaker said that mentoring could be a matter of honor. Categorically.
The room became deafening. For some time, there was even an uncomfortable feeling lingering in the air. That line changed one attendant. Later, when she asked the speaker a question, she also mentioned that she gets paid for mentoring and is proud of it. She does believe in mentoring. She studied it a lot, and it’s now her career. She is pleased that she can have the job, which gives her and her mentee meaning. Why does it have to be a hobby?
Let’s stop for a minute
This story happened because formal mentoring is only taking its first steps in the speaker’s country. But a point of view has already been formed that mentoring is just a voluntary occupation.
In the attendant country, mentoring already has profound roots. There the approach of European mentoring started. Even in a university, you can study mentoring as your future job and profession. So, the view here is drastically different. Mentoring can be both a paid and voluntary activity.
But it depends on a lot of things.
Is this mentoring program in the organization you are working in or not? Maybe it’s a mentoring program in some project in which you are participating?
Recently I noticed more and more different mentoring initiatives for women. Their tasks are to encourage them to be more active in the business, in science, etc.
You have most likely heard of mentoring programs targeted at pupils, students, diversity.
You can find many mentoring programs dedicated to many different groups with different goals.
In these mentoring programs mentoring will be almost 100% free.
However, if you acknowledge the value of mentoring, you want to move forward in life, and you look for a mentor yourself, it is very likely, that you will pay for the mentoring. But it’s not a rule. There are many different mentoring platforms in the wide world, where you can find mentors for free.
To pay or not to pay mentors for mentoring inside organizations?
If it is a mentoring program inside an organization, we will find mentoring programs where mentors are paid for their mentoring, and there are many mentoring programs where they are not.
Mentoring programs are, in many cases, a catalyst for achieving a leadership position. Even if for the mentoring inside of the organization you didn’t get paid, by participating, you got something else. You got the ability to improve your skillset. These skills are helpful not only in mentoring but also in leadership. Also, you get help in all that process.
I have had encounters with both voluntary and paid mentoring.
Both of the encounters have their plusses and minuses individually. Deciding which one to choose, it is essential to know what the plusses and minuses are and understand and control them.
To understand which mentoring type is better -voluntary or paid – is simply impossible. You can only decide which mentoring type will be better for the specific organization by studying its inside culture and possibilities.
Will mentoring be free, or will you have to pay for it depends on the country and its mentoring traditions. It also depends on whether an American or European mentoring approach dominates in the country. Are you participating in an organized mentoring program, or are you looking for a mentor by yourself? Are you looking for some concrete mentor, or are you just looking for any mentor in an entire field?
Once I heard such a perfect answer to the question, “Do you need to pay the mentor?”. The answer was a question “Do you want a gift or professional help?”. Both one and the other are good. Everything depends on what you need.
If mentoring is a gift, then you, as a mentee, have to adapt to the mentor’s abilities, and you have to be grateful for everything you get, even if your expectations were different. Well, it is a gift. We say thank you and smile😊.
If mentoring is paid, it has a structure. Meetings are regulated and happen at decided times; the mentor usually spends more time preparing, your goals are their priority, and so on.
In different life situations, we most likely need other mentors as well. Sometimes we choose a voluntary mentor, and sometimes we pay for his work.
I will be waiting for your ideas about mentoring. Your questions could turn into my answers in this blog.