Developing Mentoring Skills in the Workplace
Mentoring is a relationship between a senior employee and a junior employee not in the same chain of command but in the same specialization, the mentor has to be capable of mentoring and trains himself/herself on mentoring techniques and motivated by passing his/her knowledge to the mentee, the senior employee offers help and assistance based on his/her previous experiences; it is also a great tool for passing on the learning, skills, and knowledge from top to bottom. The main focus in a mentoring relationship is on potentiality and enhancing capabilities, unlike coaching, the agenda is set by the mentee and the mentor can push some advice and feedback. Usually the mentor/mentee relationship lasts for a very long time, and often it is “for life”.
There is a lot of purposes for mentoring, some include:
- Passing on the knowledge: Mentoring is one of the best ways of passing the knowledge; it gives the mentor an opportunity to share the success stories and the mentee to learn from those stories.
- To offer a role model and advice: A senior manager in an organization is usually looked up at by the fresh managers, it is a good opportunity to make those senior manager as role models and give their advice to the fresh employees.
As for the relationship between the mentor mentee it has its own aspects which include:
|Confidentiality:||The mentor has to keep discussions to the highest confidentiality level.||The mentee also has to keep discussions to the highest confidentiality level and has to know and believe that the mentor is going to respect the confidentiality and will not share any information without prior permission.|
|Commitment:||The mentor has to make the time for the mentee and has to respect the agreed upon time and comes on time.||The mentee has to respect the time the mentor set aside for him/her and arrive on time.|
|Mutual Respect:||The mentor has to respect all aspects of the relationship, including boundaries, personal matters, and any other aspects||The mentee firstly has to respect the mentor and look up to him/her, including respecting the aspects of the relationship.|
Mentoring can be done in different ways and models some include:
- One-to-one mentoring:
On-to-one mentoring is a closed mentoring relationship between two individuals only that:
- Is a more personal approach.
- Mentee is able to discuss more personal matters.
E-Mentoring is a fantastic inclusion of technology in the mentoring process that is also:
- Cost efficient
- One mentor can actually mentor a larger number of mentees from different parts of the world.
- Group Mentoring:
Group mentoring is a session involving one mentor and more than one mentee, benefits of such a dynamic include:
- Multiple mentees can be developed at the same time.
- Mentees can learn from each other’s experience.
Mentoring can also be a suitable learning and development intervention in situation including:
- High Potential Employees: High potential employees are the best group to target, because the organization wants them to grow, and this method will also get them engaged with the organization.
- Leadership development programs: Stepping into leadership can be overwhelming to some employees, so that is why mentoring can be useful in this situation.
- Succession Planning: Similar to the above point, some might be overwhelmed accepting new challenges.
But it is also not advised in some situation such as:
- Big Ego Mentors: When the mentor has a big ego it is extremely inadvisable, because the mentor will focus on showing off more, rather than developing the mentee.
- Crises: A crises always needs action, not suggestions and discussion.
There is a large number of benefits that mentoring offers to both, individuals and the organization, some include:
|Great source of advice from a person that had a similar experience.||A great tool for identifying talent within the organization.|
|Provides an advocate for that employee||Increases the employee engagement with the organization|
|Helps greatly in personal development||Improves working relationship|
|Increases the motivation||Staff retention|
It is always difficult to introduce a new tool to people, and there are numbers of barriers for introducing mentoring which include:
- No specific budget: This can cause failure, it is important to set aside a specific budget for mentoring
- Disengaged staff: If the staff is unwilling participants, it might as well be a time-wasting activity.
- Blame culture in the organization: No mentee will open up to his/her mentor if the culture within the organization is a blame culture.