The use of mentoring has become commonplace among more forward-thinking organisations. As with all leadership and management activity, though, some approaches are more successful than others.
Mentoring can be seen as developing the skills and knowledge of someone in an organisation through the support of someone who can help them to think things through or advise them on possibilities. Often, the mentor is older and in a senior role, can act as a role model, and may well exemplify the future aspirations of the mentee. Their advice has gravitas because it is based on relevant experience and expertise.
So, what do you need to consider when establishing a mentoring programme in your organisation?
Finding suitable mentors
As mentioned above, mentors are likely to be older, highly experienced and have professional standing. Therefore, they are likely to be busy and their time expensive. Starting a programme and appointing mentors who can never make a meeting or offer more than a few minutes is counter-productive. So make sure you have mentors available who aren’t necessarily at the top of the organisation, but have useful knowledge and experience to share, and can commit to spending time with their mentee.
Identifying the best candidates
This is expensive, takes time, and needs to generate a return in terms of performance, talent retention, engagement or innovation. So choose your mentees wisely. Who in your organisation has the potential to develop, and could stand to gain from extra support?
Timing is key, so be sure they are ready and willing to commit.
You need to measure whether mentoring is working for mentor, mentee, and the organisation as a whole. It may seem obvious, but what do you want to happen as a result of introducing mentoring? Reduced attrition of talent? A pool of engaged mentees ready for advancement? Leadership development for the mentors (and maybe the mentees too)? What else?
Make sure you are able to college tangible information on the outcome of what you are doing.
How will you coordinate your mentoring programme?
If this takes off, who will have their hand on the tiller? How will implementation and effectiveness be monitored or reported?
Mentoring is not something to be undertaken lightly, by the organisation, mentors or mentees. It is and must be a serious commitment. Abandoning it after a few months, or allowing it to disintegrate, would be highly damaging both to morale, and to the engagement of the individuals concerned.
Mentoring needs commitment from the top, and involvement from some of the most significant people in the organisation. It may even involve people from outside the organisation who are credible mentors. But if you have that top-level strategic commitment and the necessary resources and opportunities, a well-designed, strategically planned, coherent and integrated mentoring programme can have significant positive impacts at an individual, team and organisational level.
Mentoring is covered in more depth on our leadership and management programmes, where you’ll receive your own mentoring from one of our seasoned leadership experts. To discuss how this could work for you, get in touch below.