Leadership Mentoring: Why All Great Leaders Practice Mentorship

It’s rare to meet a top-performing leader who hasn’t been shaped by leadership mentorship. Not only have these leaders benefitted from guidance along their journeys, but they’ve also often served as mentors themselves. This dual role of learning and guiding is crucial for personal and professional growth. Mentorship isn’t just about individual success; it’s about creating a supportive network that fosters effective decision-making and strength-based development.



The Critical Shift: From Operator to Influencer

As emerging leaders progress, a key transition they face is moving from being an operator or professional contributor—who focuses primarily on task-based roles—to a leader who sets strategic directions and influences others’ actions. Understanding this shift is fundamental to developing the capacity to lead effectively.

Becoming an Effective Leader

Leadership and mentorship, though complex concepts filled with intangible skills and processes, both significantly impact an individual’s effectiveness. The term ‘leadership’ is often used regardless of the quality of leadership demonstrated, just as ‘mentorship’ is used regardless of the relationship’s quality. It is vital, therefore, to distinguish between effective and ineffective practices in both areas.

Leadership evolves from individual contribution to guiding teams and ultimately overseeing other leaders. This progression demands not only excellence in communication but also a nuanced understanding of organizational dynamics and human behavior. Being Leaders, an Australian-based organization that specializes in training ‘Leaders of Leaders’, outlines three organizational roles: the Professional Contributor, the Team Leader, and the Leader of Leaders. Each level increases in responsibility, requiring enhanced skills in designing operational frameworks that empower others to achieve organizational goals.

The effectiveness of a leader is not merely determined by what they say but also by their behavior and presence. Being Leaders introduces the concept of a leader’s ‘Way of Being’, which encompasses language, body language, and emotional intelligence, all of which directly impact leadership capability.

The Interconnected Practices of Leadership and Mentorship

The practice of becoming an effective mentor or mentee requires self-reflection and development, within the mentorship relationship. While each mentorship relationship may target different specific goals, the general intention remains consistent: mentors use their experience to guide mentees, who in turn must be proactive in highlighting their challenges and opportunities. This collaboration fosters insights, decision-making, and actionable steps, directly correlating to valuable leadership skills and behaviors.

Not only is mentorship valuable in the sense that emerging leaders can learn directly from more experienced leaders, but the practice of mentorship itself is valuable for becoming a leader, both as being a mentor and a mentee.

How to Start Your Mentorship Journey

Embarking on a leadership path without a mentor can be a daunting and lonely journey, filled with new skills to learn and ways of being to adopt. For women, in particular, finding mentors and role models can be challenging due to the fewer number of women in leadership roles. As women continue to carve out their authentic leadership styles, the need for tailored leadership mentorship becomes even more critical.

This is why, at OneUpOneDown, we focus on high-quality mentorship for women, matching thousands of women worldwide with leaders a few steps ahead in their own development. 

Join us, whether as a mentee and/or a mentor, to experience the profound benefits of mentorship that will support and enhance your leadership journey.


Join our monthly newsletter to get updated on mentorship opportunities and actionable insights to learn and grow through relationships.

Follow OneUpOneDown on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram to stay tuned with the latest news.