Mentoring is a key driver of success in any walk of life. Leveraged and used correctly in a large organization, it can have a massive and lasting impact not only on the lives of employees but the organization as a whole.
Mentoring builds company culture, boosts retention rates, engages employees, grooms future learners and gives employees career development opportunities. Done right and the sky's the limit with mentorship.
In order to get the most out of mentoring, here are three quick tips to make any mentoring relationship succeed:
One - Think about time
Time is an important factor in any mentoring relationship. Some formal mentoring programs will provide a template or checklist for mentors to use. Often these rote directions won’t be what is best for the relationship at that time.
Thinking about time takes real judgement and there isn’t always a cookie cutter direction for all mentoring relationships. Mentors need to take a good look at where their mentee is at in life and their career. What is their skill set? What is their education? How much experience do they have?
The mentoring approach can drastically change depending on the above mentioned factors. You would not mentor an employee in his 30’s who has been at the company for six years the same way you mentor an employee in his early 20’s who only been on board for a couple of months.
When approaching mentoring, too often timing gets thrown out the window and mentors stick to a formulaic script that came with the mentoring program. While these tools can be useful as guidelines, they don’t replace recognizing the timing involved with the relationship.
Two - Embrace Feedback
Getting feedback and or constructive criticism can be terrifying. Especially if it’s coming from a veteran employee or superior.
Mentoring can turn into a space where mentees work hard to impress their mentors. Gaining the mentors approval and recognition can become more important than what the mentees initial goals were at the start. If mentorship is approached this way, then the entire point has been missed.
Mentees need to be grooved into accepting and embracing feedback. Mentors and mentoring program admins need to make this clear from the start. When mentors give gentle and honest feedback, mentees can improve. They are given yardsticks by which to judge their professional lives by which can a tremendous tool in getting better.
Improvement only comes about in mentees when they actively pursue feedback and then use it to improve their performance. Using feedback to adjust skills only to impress or gain recognition robs the mentee of a truly fulfilling experience.
Three - Get Personal
Formal mentoring programs are structured. There are designated goals, meeting times and guidelines to follow. That doesn’t mean they have to be stiff and rigid.
The more personal a mentoring relationship the better chance it has at succeeding.
When mentors and mentees know each other on a personal level their communication is much stronger. It will go miles for mentors and mentees to simply have coffee with each other once a week to get to know one another.
Everyone is different. We all have different goals, fears and aspirations. When these are brought to the forefront of a mentoring relationship, they can be interwoven into the program creating a more intimate and personalized experience.
Mentor Resources can help any company to leverage technology to create tailored career development programs that are cost-effective. Our mentoring software - Wisdom Share is a cloud-based program that is simple and comes with guided workflows. Included are tools for administrators to attract, enroll, connect, and guide participants. We also provide analytics to ensure you can monitor your employee development program and easily see ROI metrics.
Reach out to us today for a Free Demonstration of our software.