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Organizational Change Architects & Behaviour Specialists

Mentoring Blog

Mentoring Blog

Corporate Mentoring

Posted on May 17, 2015 at 10:35 AM


What is Mentoring?

Mentoring is defined as a relationship between two individuals based on a mutual desire for development towards career goals and objectives. The term ‘mentor’ has its roots in Greek mythology and indicates a relationship of support, help and guidance given from a wise elder to a younger, less experienced person.

In recent years there has been a remarkable rise of interest in mentoring as it is seen as a highly valuable development activity in many organisations. At the core of the activity is the relationship between the mentor and the mentee, where the development of the mentee is the key focus.

The development needs satisfied through the relationship can vary in focus from guidance on settling into a new organisation, performance improvement to career management. The main point with mentoring is that the focus is determined by the mentee. They must lead in identifying issues and, with guidance from the mentor, resolving them. The mentor is not there to provide ‘the answers’, but to guide the mentee towards ‘the answer’ that is right for them. The relationship is a non reporting one and replaces none of the organizational structures in place. It is additional to other forms of assistance, such as developmental assignments, classroom instruction, on-the-job training, and coaching. Mentoring relationships are valued as a very powerful means to longer-term personal development to the individuals in the relationship.

The mentoring relationship can be both short and long term. It may develop to focus on a particular issue or it may be one that lasts for years covering a range of issues. Typically the mentor and mentee meet at designated times and places to discuss issues; make plans to resolve and then review. The formal vs. informal nature of the sessions is down to those involved, however each session must have a purpose. Therefore, a successful mentorship program helps break down barriers and creates opportunities for success.

What relationships do you have right now that appear to fit the criteria of mentorship, e.g. someone you respect, someone you learn from, a relationship that feels ‘personal’ in a positive way?

How do organisations use Mentoring?

Mentoring is seen as a way of nurturing talent and also a way to develop skills of the people who are mentoring others. Traditional business mentoring programs focus on developing junior employees by pairing them with more experienced and often senior staff for several months. Although this form of mentoring remains popular, mentoring as a strategy has expanded to include different formats such as group and situational, and for more purposes such as diversity training or high potential development. Organizations encourage mentoring to:

• Develop people in specific areas, e.g. leadership, working cross culturally, commercial acumen, etc.

• To support people in a new role or transitioning to a new situation

• To nurture and foster talent, e.g. broaden people’s knowledge and understanding, help to mature more junior professionals

• To groom/position individuals to succeed key people and so reduce the risk of loss of those people(as part of a succession planning process)

• To provide development and learning for individuals in the absence of other options, e.g. executive coaching, training etc.

Mentoring in an organisation facilitates sharing knowledge, expertise, skills, insights, and experiences through dialogue and collaborative learning.

Because mentoring is goal oriented and promotes professional and personal growth among participants, it helps attract, motivate, develop, and retain profitable talent while increasing productivity.

Source: Julie Starr, The Mentoring Manual, 2014



Categories: Corporate Mentoring

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