Mentoring is forward-looking and focused on the action you are willing to take to get what you want out of your work, your career your business. The process of being mentored enables you to see different alternatives and to take a step back and examine your goals and values and how these impact on your ability to manage. This examination leads to greater self-awareness, focus, and accountability.
You can use your mentor in different ways depending on your needs. They can be your personal trainer to enable you to achieve your goals; your facilitator in communication and life skills; your sounding board when making choices; your motivation when strong actions are called for; your unconditional support; your coach in personal development; your assistant when creating an extraordinary project. And most importantly, the professional mentor is your partner in helping you have all of what matters most to you.
Sometimes you just need to learn or enhance a skill such as giving a presentation. If you need to present your service to your customer, you will need coaching now not when the next course comes up. Most people find that three or four hours of coaching and they can design and develop their presentation and practise the delivery till they are satisfied they will make the best impression on their client.
When I was writing the Useful Guide to Mentoring, I spent time with the people who were mentors as well as those wanting to be mentored. One of the exercises we carried out was to brainstorm the benefits of mentoring so that we could be clearer about how people thought mentoring suited them. Here are the findings:
For Mentors the group agreed they gained:
Satisfaction at the success of mentees.
Recognition of the mentor’s development skills by higher management.
Identify future potential.
Development opportunities for the mentor: coaching, counselling, and motivating skills.
Future goodwill from the mentee who may well overtake the mentor career-wise.
The Mentees believed they benefited by:
Career enhancement regarding advice (both professional and also in the timing of job moves) and sponsorship (such as recognition by senior people, ‘mentioned in dispatches’).
Speedier and easier induction into the formal and informal world of organisations.
Ready access to senior managers undoubtedly aids the mentee’s self-confidence.
Training in organisational politics offered by mentoring.
Learning about the politics of institutions through their mentors.
A role model can be observed carefully as well as from a distance.
Most of my ‘subjects’ were working in large companies so we also checked out how managers felt about their staff being mentored and finally some thoughts about the benefits to the organisation.
Line Managers thought they benefitted by gaining:
A more useful member of staff.
A second opinion of the mentee’s performance or potential.
Information from the mentor via the mentee (about other people, other departments, other programmes, or other ideas).
Ease of workload regarding primary responsibilities.
‘Bask in the reflected glory’ of the mentee, who will probably impress the senior management.
For the Organisation, therefore, the benefits identified included:
More capable staff, line managers, and mentors as well as mentees.
Demonstrating a commitment to training and development.
Tangible and measurable gains if work tasks or projects are used as educational tools.
Improved communication across the organisation, between mentor, mentee, and line manager.
Increased motivation of all parties involved.
If you would like to become a Mentor and help others achieve success in their career check out
The Useful Guide to Mentoring published by Pansophix and available from the British Learning Foundation.
It is suitable for you if you are considering taking on a mentor role or looking for a mentor.
What the Useful Guide includes:
- the role of the mentor and the benefits of mentoring and coaching
- finding your natural mentoring style and the key qualities needed
- effective questions to use in the mentoring environment
- active listening – what it is and how to do it effectively including a self-assessment exercise and audit
- a learning styles questionnaire to help you understand how your mentee learns so you can tailor your mentoring accordingly
- a Mentoring Competency Self Assessment questionnaire
- the essential steps in becoming a mentee, finding the right mentor for you, and working effectively with him/her to deliver your objectives.
After completing the guide you will be able to:
- perform the mentor role effectively to add significant value to your mentee
- gain enormous satisfaction from being a great mentor
- set up, if required, an appropriate mentor/mentee contract
- ask appropriate questions and allow your mentee to feel that you are really listening
- provide significantly more support and value to your mentee
- know how to identify and find the kind of mentor you need