10 Inspiring Mentoring Quotes to Encourage Program Growth

Sam Cook


Quotes on a wall for mentoring quotes.

The right quote can change our perspectives like nothing else. Whether it is from our favorite book, song, film, or even just from the mouth of someone we look up to, there is no denying that these few precious words can be of the greatest importance to us. They’re exceptionally useful to draw from when keeping ourselves and others motivated.

That’s also why inspiring mentoring quotes are a really useful tool in every mentor’s toolkit. The mentoring journey can be full of ups and downs on both sides of the table. Anyone heading into a program of personal and professional development is likely to hit a wall at some point. They might have to confront some negative behaviors they practice, or they could have to step outside of their comfort zone. That is where great mentors are able to step in and lead someone in the right direction.

  • Mentors can use those quotes as an emotional focal point.
  • Mentees can use these quotes as words of encouragement.

Either way, you can’t go wrong with a few good inspirational quotes on hand. Learning from others and seeing that they have once stood where you are stuck can inspire growth and new perspectives you might never have considered before.

Let’s explore some of the best mentorship quotes influential figures have given us over the years – perhaps you might find value in them, too!

1. Steven Spielberg on Mentoring Quote

Here’s a quote on mentoring attributed to famed Hollywood director and filmmaker, Steven Spielberg:

“The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.”

How true it is! In fact, this is perhaps one of the critical differences between mentoring and coaching, which you can read more about in our blog posting, Mentoring vs. Coaching: 2 Big Differences and When You Need Them.

2. Dan Pena Mentoring Quote

Here’s a quote on mentoring attributed to American businessman and founder of The Guthrie Group, Dan Pena:

“I could not be more proud of the countless lives that I have changed since I began my coaching and mentoring career!”

Pena’s point is well received for those who have had a good mentor. It’s also well in line with what employees want right now: Career development that leads to more advancement opportunities and helps them achieve life and career goals. It’s why paving career pathways is one of the top mentoring trends right now.

3. Denise Morrison Mentoring Quote

Here’s a quote on mentoring attributed to Denise Morrison, the former President and CEO of Campbell Soup Company:

“The path to diversity begins with supporting, mentoring, and sponsoring diverse women and men to become leaders and entrepreneurs.”

In this Mentoring Soundbites video, we explore how to use mentoring to promote and cultivate diverse leadership.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion is a must-have value for companies. Alongside data showing that companies with diverse leadership are more profitable, 76% of workers now list DEI as an important factor for job seekers. Supporting diversity through mentoring is a great way to start, with programs such as reverse mentoring programs creating critical and necessary pathways to leadership positions for women and minorities.

4. Adam Conover Mentoring Quote

Here’s a quote on mentoring attributed to American comedian and TV host, Adam Conover:

I have a vested interest in increasing the amount of diversity in my own business. That’s something that I care about. So mentoring people who are trying to break into the business who could use a hand, that’s the type of person I look for.

Although comedians aren’t known for their serious takes, Conover hits this one right on the head. Just like Denise Morrison, Conover understands the vast importance of diversity in a business setting and why mentoring is an essential part of creating a more diverse workforce. We’ve covered the topic in more detail in our blog post, Meet Diversity and Inclusion Goals with Mentoring.

5. Rebecca Serle Mentoring Quote

Here’s a quote on mentoring attributed to New York Times best-selling author Rebecca Serle:

Glassdoor employee retention data to highlight mentoring quotes.

In her book ‘Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead,’ Sheryl Sandberg talks about the mentor/mentee relationship – and how it needs to be organic. She goes on to explain how important it is for men and women to step into mentoring roles. I would argue that not only is it important – but it’s important far earlier than we think.

Serle hits the nail on the head with the importance of creating mentoring relationships earlier, rather than later. We can see the value of that when we look at the high turnover rates of new employees within the first few months. New employee turnover can be as high as 20% within the first 45 days. However, workers are less likely to quit when they’re paired with a mentor during the onboarding period.

This is why we strongly recommend onboarding mentoring programs, which can dramatically reduce new hire turnover by giving those new employees a more direct pathway toward learning their role and getting acclimated to the company culture.

6. Oprah Winfrey Mentoring Quote

“A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.”

Oprah Winfrey, an American host, producer, and philanthropist, is no stranger to the power of mentoring. She has no doubt served as the mentor to many across her career and has herself received mentorship from the great American poet Maya Angelou.

One of the brilliant aspects of mentoring is that it can truly help you see “the hope inside,” as Oprah puts it. The ideal mentor mentors you to find the skills and talents that already exist within you and helps you to bring them to life. Someone may think that they aren’t cut out for management, only for the right mentor to show them how to utilize the leadership skills that do exist within them for the greatest success.

7. Denzel Washington Mentoring Quote

“Show me a successful individual and I’ll show you someone who had real positive influences in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living — if you do it well I’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing the way. A mentor.”

Actor Denzel Washington makes a great point here. Though many of us find mentors in our professional lives, as this is where we want to achieve the most success, true mentors can be found throughout our lives. They might even be parents or other family members.

Having an influential figure in our lives act as a huge believer in our abilities and what we can do can truly set us on a new trajectory. Even if a bond is initially forged in a mentoring program in the workplace, there is no reason why the relationship can’t continue as parties move on and advance their own careers.

8. John C. Crosby Mentoring Quote

“Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.”

This great mentoring quote from former US Representative John C. Crosby really shows how varied mentoring can be. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that it all has to be set goals with one purpose in mind.

The right mentoring relationship will draw from all aspects of life. A good mentor will listen to the wants of their mentee and then will work with them to craft a unique development plan to help them reach those goals. Such a relationship might be over a short series of sessions, or it might be a lifelong journey together. No matter what, it should always result in a step down the right path.

9. Dan Peña Mentoring Quote

“I could not be more proud of the countless lives that I have changed since I began my coaching and mentoring career!”

We love this quote from Dan Peña, American businessman and founder of The Guthrie Group, because it really celebrates the value that can be found in a good mentoring relationship. Finding the right mentor is a big part of the battle – you need to find someone who will know when to challenge you and when to support you.

Peña’s point is also well in line with what employees want right now: career development that leads to more advancement opportunities and helps them achieve life and career goals. That’s why paving career pathways is one of the top mentoring trends at the moment.

10. Whoopi Goldberg Mentoring Quote

“We’re here for a reason. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark.”

We shall leave you with this little gem of a quote from actor and comedian Whoopi Goldberg.

Again, this just serves to highlight the profound impact that can be gained from mentoring. It’s not always about helping people chase that seat on the board or landing a new role at a Fortune 500 company, but, sometimes, it is just about being the person that the mentee needs at that precise moment; no more than a helping hand and a listening ear.

Build Your Own Quotable Experiences

Introducing mentoring to a company can bring a wave of benefits, but building buy-in for mentoring takes all types of strategies to open eyes and see the value here. While data is good for the analytical-minded, inspiring quotes can bring that feel-good factor. Keep in mind that most of the executive decision-makers at your organization had a mentor who helped them along the way as well.

If you’re trying to launch mentoring at your organization, we can help! Our #1 employee mentoring platform is designed for enterprises and can be tailored to meet the exact needs of your company.

Book a demo today to learn more about the type of mentoring programs you can build and why mentoring software will help your organization and its participants get the most out of the experience.

Sam Cook