Mentoring – Inspiring Success in Others
Are you thinking about finding a mentor? Has someone asked you to mentor them? Does your organization have a mentoring program?
As our business landscape becomes increasingly competitive, the advantages of well-structured mentoring programs and relationships become apparent. Mentor programs can help attract, develop and retain talented employees; they can help with diversity initiatives and with succession planning. These programs allow an organization to hold onto its hard-earned business knowledge and maintain and promote a valued corporate culture. Mentoring relationships can help employees learn more quickly and more deeply, providing access to information that may not be easily gained by other means. They can also help develop and solidify meaningful long-term professional relationships and friendships.
For the mentoring relationship to be successful, planning is necessary – by both the mentor and the mentee. Here are some suggestions to make the journey successful:
Timely Tips for Mentors
- Align your mentoring activities with your organization’s business goals. Define what you want to achieve with your mentee, and how you will know the mentoring has been successful.
- Understand the difference between mentoring and coaching. While a coach helps an individual attain specific results on an identified task or objective, a mentor assists the employee with personal and professional development. Both approaches are valuable – just make sure you’re clear about what you are planning to accomplish.
- Make sure you understand the mentee’s goals for your relationship. Check in regularly to assess goal attainment or to realign direction.
Timely Tips for Mentees
- Be clear about your goals for the mentoring relationship, and share these with your mentor. Check in with yourself from time to time to determine if your goals have changed; discuss your thoughts with your mentor.
- Make sure you understand the scope and limitations of your mentoring relationship. Don’t view the relationship primarily as a means to fast-track your career development. Remember to give as well as receive. Clarify if the relationship is short-term and time-limited, or if it is a longer-term commitment.
- Prepare for meetings with your mentor. Have a specific situation or problem in mind, along with the questions you plan to ask. Don’t expect the mentor to do all the work: prepare your own ideas about how to approach the situation.
Timely Tips For a Mentoring Program
- Establish criteria for both mentors and mentees that are aligned with your desired business outcomes.
- In selecting mentors, look for individuals with a positive attitude, enthusiasm for the task, willingness to share one’s know-how, ability to provide constructive feedback and ask meaningful questions, and earned respect from others in the organization.
- In selecting potential mentees, look for a commitment to see the mentoring assignment through, willingness to learn and receive feedback, emotional intelligence, and specific skills and competencies. Work to connect mentees with mentors who will best provide the guidance they seek.