Sharing Experience: the Benefits of Mentoring

By Bonnie Poindexter

Successful businesses incorporate mentoring because the workplace benefits are overwhelmingly positive. Mentoring and being mentored can boost the development of leadership and management skills for both parties. Being mentored can also reduce the learning curve for protègès.

Those engaged in mentorship are often also the most engaged in growing their Northrop Grumman careers. With performance and collaboration at the core of our mission, helping the next generation succeed is part of every employee's responsibility.


Mentoring is one way for employees to build experience, exposure and education, the three E’s that represent development. Other ways include coaching, sponsorships and navigator programs, along with additional resources within the Northrop Grumman Development Center. These can easily become co-mingled, so let’s define them by key outcomes.

Mentors Can Help You...

• Gain and develop critical skills
• Enhance networks
• Broaden organizational knowledge
• Accelerate readiness for new roles and expanded responsibilities
• Improve work performance
• Navigate through challenges and act as a sounding board for career path crossroads

Coaches can provide...

• A safe environment for reflection and learning
• Encouragement for development, creativity and innovation
• Perspectives on ways to move forward with goals
• Relevant learning and development experiences
• Opportunities for self-exploration
• Feedback

Sponsors are people who...

• Based on belief in your capabilities, interests and performance, apply internal political and social capital to move your career forward

Working with a Mentor

There’s little benefit in securing a mentor simply for the sake of having one. At Northrop Grumman, mentoring starts with doing some important pre-work to create a thoughtful objective for the relationship.

You are ready for a mentor if you have assessed your career objectives and are committed to your development and to your mentoring relationship. You’ll need to be ready to stretch boundaries and build relationships.

As you work with your mentor, it’s important to be proactive in aligning to expand your professional network across the organization and externally. Don’t hold back. Have critical discussions about strengths and weaknesses, as well as potential future career options. Ask for honest feedback, and be open to hearing it.

Mentorship is designed to be a safe relationship with a thought partner experienced in successful approaches to business projects and challenges. Often, mentorships include the opportunity to receive technical guidance on current work — and that’s big a plus.

Rachel with a mentor

“Northrop Grumman is a large corporation, but it doesn't feel that way. I've always felt a sense of camaraderie and have been able to build lasting relationships with my coworkers.”

—Rachel, Contract Administrator, is having lunch with her mentor, Kim.

Mentoring at Northrop Grumman

Across the company, thousands of employees take part in Northrop Grumman mentoring programs. These are just a few examples of the types of programs available.

Mentor1NG is a web-based mentor matching system open to all employees through the Northrop Grumman Development Center. Additionally, the company’s Navigator Program offers global and veteran mentor matching. Employees interested in working abroad may choose to partner with volunteers with global business and culture experience. And, newly hired veterans can be paired with volunteers who can help smooth the transition from the military to your new role in the corporate world.

Operation IMPACT (Injured Military Pursuing Assisted Career Transition) is another enterprise program focused on assisting our servicemen and women. Volunteers provide career transition support to military service members who have been severely injured, as well as their families.

Recent graduates and new employees who join Northrop Grumman Acclimation Programs are formally paired with an experienced mentor for professional development, education, networking opportunities, early guidance and support.

Finally, Northrop Grumman works with American Corporate Partners. This nonprofit organization is dedicated to helping post-9/11 veterans find their next careers through one-on-one mentoring, networking and online career advice.