The Power of Product Management Mentorship

three-tier mentorship ladder, with figures helping each other ascend against a beige backdrop with plants

Introduction to Intelligent People

As product management recruitment specialists, we are proud of the work we do within the product management community, supporting candidates in their careers and identifying the best talent for our clients.
We actively support groups that celebrate the product management world, like Women in Product and we are genuinely passionate about inspiring and connecting people together in this community.

Our Partner Up Product Management mentorship programme aims to provide a place where product people of all levels globally can engage, network, access new resources and learn new skills. The scheme has now over 200 product mentors, with experience across start-up, scale-up and enterprise businesses and various industries including FinTech, HealthTech, PropTech, EdTech and more. Access to mentorship is free for everyone, and since the scheme has started, we’ve received over 1200 mentorship requests.

Mentorship in the UK today

Before taking a look at the transformative potential of mentorship in product management, it’s important to understand its prevalence and impact with the UK.

According to a study conducted by Mentorloop, 97% of professionals believe that mentorship is valuable, with 55% actively seeking a mentor. This demonstrates a widespread recognition of the benefits mentorship can offer in professional development and career advancement, but there is still a gap in those actually accessing mentorship.

Employers also recognise the benefits of mentorship. A survey conducted by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) revealed that 72% of organisations consider mentoring to be an effective tool for employee development.

Other stats around mentorship from a study by Wharton include:


  • Mentors were promoted six times more often and mentees were promoted five times more often.

  • The same study found that mentoring programs also dramatically improved promotion and retention rates for minorities and women — 15% to 38% as compared to non-mentored employees.

Benefits of Mentorship in Product Management: for the mentee

  • Knowledge transfer

Product management encompasses a broad range of skills and competencies, from market research and product strategy to stakeholder management and agile methodologies. A mentor, with years of experience in the field, serves as a reservoir of knowledge, imparting valuable insights, best practices, and practical experience that cannot be learnt from textbooks or online resources alone.

Learning through trial and error can be time-consuming and inefficient. By leveraging the insights and experiences of a mentor, product managers can fast-track their learning curve.

  • Guidance in decision-making

The journey of a product manager is fraught with tough decisions, from prioritising features to navigating conflicts between stakeholders. A mentor provides invaluable guidance and perspective, helping mentees navigate complex scenarios, weigh trade-offs, and make informed decisions that align with strategic objectives and user needs.

  • Professional development

Effective product management extends beyond technical skills to encompass leadership, communication, and stakeholder management. A mentorship relationship provides a safe space for mentees to hone these soft skills, receive constructive feedback, and cultivate the confidence needed to excel in their roles.

Mentorship fosters personal growth and self-awareness. Through candid conversations and constructive feedback, mentees gain valuable insights into their strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement, paving the way for continuous self-improvement and personal fulfillment.

  • Networking opportunities

Networking is important within product management for career advancement and staying current of industry trends. A mentor, with an extensive professional network, can open doors to new opportunities, connect mentees with key influencers, and facilitate meaningful collaborations that accelerate their career progression.

  • Personalised guidance

Every product management role is unique, influenced by factors such as industry vertical, company culture, and organisational structure. A mentor offers personalised guidance tailored to the specific challenges and opportunities faced by the mentee, equipping them with the tools and strategies needed to thrive in their role.

Product managers often operate within silos, focused on the intricacies of their own projects and objectives. A mentor brings a fresh perspective, challenging conventional thinking, and exposing mentees to alternative approaches and innovative solutions that may have been overlooked.

  • The role of a mentee

A mentee is a person who is willing to put extra time and effort into their career development by learning from a senior leader within their chosen field, or a leader which will provide personal and professional development.

A mentee is responsible for driving their own agenda and career development plan, with the support of an experienced mentor. This involves asking questions, actively listening to advice and creating an action plan that they stick to.

A graph containing the qualities a mentee should possess: Proactive, Respecting Boundaries, Clarity, Open to Change, Responsibility, Confidentiality

Benefits of Mentorship in Product Management: for the mentor

In early 2024, we conducted a survey with our 200 mentors and discovered the following results, showing mentorship provides two-way benefits and is meaningful for mentors too.

an Infographic summarizing the results of the mentorship survey

The role of the mentor

The practical application of a mentor’s product management knowledge, skills and experience can add substantial value to those starting out in the industry or looking to develop their career further.

A mentor is often a senior member of a specific industry that helps a mentee by:

  • Sharing industry knowledge and experiences

  • Sharing details of their own career path and any learnings

  • Providing guidance, motivation and sometimes emotional support to tackle obstacles

  • Being a role model within the industry

  • Helping to explore and develop a career, by setting goals and sharing contents and resources

  • Providing coaching towards goals, rather than management towards goals

  • Providing constructive feedback to develop the mentee further
An infographic illustrating the qualities a mentor should possess

How Can I get involved?

If you would like to become a mentor, simply apply for our scheme by completing our mentor application form. We will get back to you on your application within 72 hours and confirm next steps with you.

If you would like to find a mentor, view our Find A Mentor page and use our filters to find a mentor with the experience to suit you. Click on their profile and complete the form on their mentor profile page. The mentor should be in contact with you within 72 hours, with either a mentorship acceptance or decline.

For both mentors and mentees, we have a library of mentorship resources to help you through your mentorship journey, including goal setting templates, career planning guides and meeting checklists.

About the Author:

Picture of Laura Richards, Marketing Director at Intelligent People
Laura Richards, Marketing Director at Intelligent People

Laura has 15 years of marketing experience, spanning sectors such as retail, leisure, food and beverage and property, previously working for big brands such as Tesco and Gourmet Burger Kitchen. Her generalist marketing role within Intelligent People allows her to focus on a broad range of activities, from optimising the website for SEO, to building brand awareness, managing social channels, and writing blog and insight content pieces.

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