I recently facilitated a mentor training course and was blessed to have course candidates who were fully engaged and shared the passion for mentoring. What was interesting was that we entered the room as mentors and we left with a better understanding of mentoring and started the journey to become an “effective mentor.”
We have all either been a mentor or been at the receiving end of some mentoring. One of the candidates this week raved about the mentoring that he had over quite a period of time and is still serving him well. I have also had conversations with people who said that relationship was not that great; in fact, it had put a bad taste in their mouth regarding mentoring. Stories like that really brought tears to my eyes as I saw people being held back from being at their best because they do not have that one trusted advisor to reach out to – an effective mentor.
Mentoring is becoming more and more popular in almost all aspects of our lives. We hear about it at the work place, in personal situations even in sports venues. There is always a discussion going on about mentoring this person or another. The thing that we need to always remember though is that we need to focus on effective mentoring. What was once the way to mentor is now not meeting the needs of our future leaders of tomorrow or is it?
The paradigm is shifting when it comes to effective mentoring. Reverse mentoring is a term that we do not use anymore. It has negative connotations to start with as it has the word “reverse”. It usually refers to a younger person mentoring an older person. This takes place when a young professional is perhaps teaching an older work colleague the use of technology. The paradigm shift is that its really effective mentoring. You are hopefully in a culture where mentoring flourishes and everyone mentors everyone as part of the learning and development environment.
Mentoring programs can falter if the culture does not supporting mentoring. You will see this taking place in organizations where there is a lot of negativity or the leadership of the organization has not fully bought into mentoring. Any attempt at mentoring in this sort of environment is likely to leave a bad taste for some of the participants.
Effective mentoring is all about building a trusted two-way relationship where both parties grow through the relationship. It is about leveraging the L&D environment that benefits both parties in the relationship. What we lose sight of sometimes is the benefit to the organization as it can’t but help the positivity in the organization and the increase in productivity. Effective mentoring and a mentoring culture create engaged, empowered and accountable employees and that is a win-win for everyone.
Every effective leader – those who are seen as transformational leaders or great leaders as defined by Jim Collins in his book – have used effective mentoring skills as part of the leadership tool kit. They are the leaders that see their people as valued assets in the organization. They see their people as people that they engage, empower and hold accountable for the success of the organization because they are the people that make that happen.
The paradigm shift is taking place. Are you ready for the change and are you ready to embrace the “power of effective mentoring?” Can you afford not to?
References: Good to Great, Jim Collins