What is Mentoring?
The act or process of helping and giving advice to a younger or less experienced person, especially in a job or at school is known as mentoring. Recently there has been an increased demand for mentors since CEOs, managers and other specialists are expected to demonstrate that they are undertaking significant professional development; the workplace and business employment environment is becoming more and more competitive; the influence of the emerging industrial nations is forcing radical changes in the skill mix required of managers and other professionals.
In order to be a good mentor, a person needs to be trained in mentoring techniques, and possess a combination of appropriate work experience, qualifications, and general business knowledge, that can be used to guide and advise a particular mentee. Furthermore, it is very important that the mentor is a person who is filled with enthusiasm and a strong passion for helping others to develop, fulfill their potential, and achieve their and the organization’s objectives.
Besides having an appropriate experience and knowledge, the mentor has to be able to:
- listen actively,
- communicate well,
- understand the work and personal environment of the person being mentored,
- build a strong relationship,
- ask appropriate questions,
- direct the mentee to other sources of help and learning when necessary,
- identify and set goals,
- create plans and schemes for achieving the goals,
- monitor and adjust to the plans, and
- know when it is time to terminate the mentoring.
Mentoring is based on one to one relationship where a more senior person helps a more junior one to make progress, usually as part of a planned development program, such as management fast-tracking, preparing for a more senior post, or leading a phase of workplace activity, such as a project. The mentor offers guidance and advice, in a supportive manner, in a format and style designed by the organization’s human resource department. The aim is to provide the mentee with support that will enable them to move forward confidently and to achieve their personal workplace goals and also the objectives set for them by the organization.
There are a lot of benefits for individuals, including helping the individual to:
- avoid making mistakes in their business or personal lives,
- achieve more in less time,
- minimize actual problems and issues,
- effectively prepare for potential difficulties,
- be happier with their personal and/or work life and achievements,
- achieve career or personal development targets,
- change career or career direction, and
- become more effective and influential in all segments of their life.
The benefits for the organizations are similar. They include:
- learning from a person who has a broad range of knowledge,
- obtaining independent, unbiased, objective, advice and guidance,
- gaining improvements to productivity, quality levels, customer satisfaction, shareholder value,
- gaining increased commitment and satisfaction levels in operational and management staff,
- supporting other training and development activity,
- visible evidence that the organization is committed to continual development and improving,
- establishing an effective process for organizational development.