Arlington Sports Conditioning - Pete Leibman

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The Power of a Peer Mentor

When you start a new job, it is incredibly valuable to have someone other than your boss who understands your role and who can answer questions and provide relevant perspective and advice. Such a person is often referred to as a Peer Mentor.

I was very fortunate to have a Peer Mentor during my first role at one of my prior employers. When the company hired me, my first supervisor was very well-respected inside and outside of the organization, and he ended up being an incredible person to learn from. However, he had never actually done the job that I was hired to do, since he had joined the organization at a higher level than my role.

Thankfully, there was another member of our team who had recently been promoted out of my position and who took an interest in mentoring me. He was able to provide firsthand perspective and guidance about my role that my boss was simply unable to provide. In addition, since he had reported to my boss for several years, he was also able to provide valuable perspective on how best to work with my boss.

The Benefits of a Peer Mentor

There are three primary benefits of setting up a new hire with a Peer Mentor:

  1. It helps a new hire feel more connected and supported. It is easy to feel isolated when you start a new job, especially if you work remote. However, setting up a new hire with a Peer Mentor helps someone feel more connected from day one. This action is also a symbolic gesture. It sends a strong message to a new hire that the company really cares about his success.
  2. It helps a new hire get off to a faster start. A Peer Mentor can provide guidance on how to perform even better in a new role. This is especially important when the new hire’s boss has never actually done the new hire’s job. In that case, a Peer Mentor can provide valuable perspective and insight on how to thrive in a specific role.
  3. It helps the more experienced employee feel even more valuable. A new hire is not the only person who benefits from a Peer Mentor program. The Peer Mentor will benefit as well. Mentoring someone at work is very rewarding, and it also provides an opportunity to teach and to deepen your expertise. All of this adds value to the Peer Mentor, too.

3 Keys for Success with a Peer Mentor Relationship

It’s important to select the right person as a new hire’s Peer Mentor. Your company should also provide guidance for each side on when and how often to check-in. Here are three keys for success with a Peer Mentor relationship:

  1. Choose someone at the same level or one level higher. The Peer Mentor should be at least as senior as the new hire and definitely not junior to him. Otherwise, the Peer Mentor will lack credibility with the new hire. If the new hire is a C-Suite executive, or if there is no one that can serve as a Peer Mentor, then your company could pay for the new hire to work with an executive coach instead. That sort of relationship would clearly be different. However, it would be better than not providing anyone as a non-supervisor mentor/coach for a key new hire.
  2. Choose someone who works for the same supervisor. Ideally, the Peer Mentor will currently or recently have worked for the same person as the new hire. It’s even better if the Peer Mentor works in the same department or function, and if he recently held a similar role. The more familiar that the Peer Mentor is with the new hire’s role and supervisor, the better. If the Peer Mentor does not have a deep understanding of the new hire’s role, it will be much harder to add value.
  3. Recommend a timeline and schedule for checking-in. Tell both sides that the Peer Mentor will be a resource for the new hire for the first 90 days. By establishing a specific timeframe, rather than leaving it open-ended, it will be less likely to feel like a burden for the Peer Mentor, and it will provide more urgency for the new hire to get off to a fast start. Encourage the pair to check in once a week for the first month. Then, they can check-in every two weeks or so for the next two months. Any communication after that would be unscheduled and optional.

A Peer Mentor is incredibly valuable when you start a new job. No matter how much a supervisor wants to help a new hire succeed, it is important for a new hire to have someone other than his boss who understands his role and who can answer questions and provide relevant perspective and advice.

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About the author: As the Founder of Stronger Talent, Pete Leibman recruits exceptional leaders for innovative sports, fitness, and wellness companies. Throughout his career, Pete has helped clients recruit exceptional leaders at the Board, C-Suite, Senior Vice President, Vice President, General Manager, Managing Director, and Director levels. Pete’s work has been featured on Fox News, CBS Radio, and, and he is the author of two books and over 250 articles on career management, peak performance, and executive recruiting.

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