Enabling the transfer of business critical skills
In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn - Phil Collins
The benefits of a formal mentoring process have been accepted by many organisations as a way to help their people learn. Traditionally mentoring in the workplace describes a strategic developmental initiative in which a more experienced colleague (the Mentor), uses their greater knowledge, wisdom and understanding of one or more areas in the work or workplace to support the development of a member of staff who has less experience in those contexts (the Mentee).
Mentoring is often used to integrate individuals new to the company, and to develop those in critical operations or who demonstrate high potential for rapid movement up the ranks. It helps them develop their cultural awareness and extend their networks. In certain instances the roles of mentor and mentee may be interchangeable where the individuals concerned have different skills and approaches. For instance, in reverse mentoring an older person may assist a younger one to develop leadership presence and influence, and assist them to widen their network. The younger person in turn may assist the older one to become more familiar with the use of new technology.
Mentoring elicits new insights, perspectives and wisdom for both mentor and mentee, and organizations which commit to ongoing mentoring activities find that this contributes considerably to employee satisfaction.
In leadership development, the powerful leveraging effect of mentoring is often overlooked. Mentoring is a personal relationship, and for mentoring to be successful it needs to be part of the leadership development culture of the organisation. Done well, mentoring is beneficial for the mentor, the mentee and the organisation in terms of engagement, sharing of knowledge and most importantly developing future leaders. This is important as if mentoring is not sufficiently integrated into organizational culture, it can become a chore for senior managers and increase the cynicism of aspiring high potentials.
Metaco uses the Socratic Methodology to train mentors to guide by asking questions rather than instructing or judging. An effective mentor keeps a distance and does not take charge of the mentee. The success of the mentoring relationship hinges on the mentor recognizing and helping to facilitate the mentee's feeling of ownership in the relationship and the tasks at hand. Whilst the mentee is usually the predominant beneficiary of the relationship, a healthy, well executed mentoring relationship benefits both parties.
The Difference between Mentoring and Coaching
Benefits to the mentee:
- Developmental outcomes which may include knowledge, technical and behavioural improvements
- An understanding of how to interact and work effectively with key clients and suppliers
- Political awareness
- Improved communication with peers and upper management
- New insights, perspectives and wisdom
- Better management of career goals
- Developing a wider network of influence
- Increased confidence and self-awareness which helps build performance and contribution
Benefits to the organisation:
- Increased productivity through better engagement and job satisfaction
- Attracting, developing and retaining top talent
- Breaking down the "silo" mentality that hinders co-operation among company departments or divisions
- Increasing the diversity of the workforce and reducing prejudice through cross-cultural and cross-gender mentoring programmes
- Enabling knowledge sharing between employees of different generations through reverse mentoring programmes
- Knowledge transfer enriches succession planning, and expertise and wisdom is not lost when senior managers retire or leave the company
Key Factors in an Effective Mentoring Programme
The quality of mentoring and the results it delivers depends on several key factors. The following should be taken into account:
- An understanding of when mentoring is an appropriate and effective intervention in relation to other learning and development options
- Mentors are appropriately selected, trained and developed
- Mentors are matched appropriately to those who are in need of mentoring
- Contractual agreements exist between mentor and mentee
- Mentor/mentee relationships are regularly evaluated
- Mechanisms to evaluate the effectiveness of the mentoring activities are set up
Metaco co-creates your mentoring solution with you, in order to meet your organization's specific needs. It may simply be that workshops for mentors and mentees are required to initiate an internal mentoring process, or a larger project could entail the management of an end-to-end corporate mentoring programme.