Mentoring - professional support which delivers results.
your organization has senior managers who are out of touch with key
players at the operational level
if youíre looking for a way to motivate and retain high achievers within
a flatter management structure
you probably need a Mentoring programme.
Recent research by the UKís Industrial Society identified Mentoring
as one of the fastest growing management development activities in the
UK. So what is it and is it just another name for Coaching?
Is Mentoring just another word for coaching?
We would argue that Mentoring and Coaching are quite different
activities, both of which are important in their own right, and strongly
supportive of individual development. We have used the following comparison
chart to help our clients clarify their understanding of the different
roles each mechanism has to play:
|Something which managers must do for
all their staff, as a required part of their job.
||Something which managers choose to
do for specific, selected individuals.
|Takes place within the confines of
the formal line manager-jobholder relationship (although peer
coaching within work teams is increasingly common).
||Takes place outside the line manager
relationship, at the mutual consent of the Mentor and the person
they are Mentoring.
|Is job-focused: focuses on developing
the individual within their current job. The coach manages, assesses
and appraises the individualís development in line with the tasks
which their job requires them to perform and the standards they
need to achieve..
||Is career-focused: focuses on the
long term, overall development of the individual in line with
their career aspirations. The Mentor acts as a sounding board
for the individualís development concerns and needs, listening,
offering advice and making suggestions.
|Interest is functional - arising out
of the need to ensure that the individual can perform the tasks
required of them to the best of their ability.
||Interest is personal - arising out
of the Mentorís personal belief in the individual and a personal
desire to Ďchampioní and support them in achieving their career
|Relationship tends to be initiated
and driven by the individualís line manager.
||Relationship is often initiated by
|Relationship is finite - ends as individuals
move on to work in other jobs under other line managers.
||Relationship crosses job boundaries
- will tend to persist throughout a personís career.
Moving from tradition to today
Traditionally, Mentoring was
used simply as an aid to succession planning. It enabled the organizationís
leaders to prepare and shape the leaders who will take their place in
the future. Often carried out on a very informal basis, it was generally
based on a personal understanding between two individuals. Today, Mentoring
is used as a strategic tool for organizational development. As such
it is expected to produce specific results and must therefore be planned,
managed and supported like any other part of the training and development
mix. In helping our clients to set up and implement Mentoring programmes
we tend to guide them through the following four stages:
- selection - of suitable candidates for the programme, both
Mentors and Mentorees
- matching - of Mentors and Mentorees into appropriate pairings
which are likely to work
- preparation - of both Mentors and Mentorees, through briefing
sessions at which Mentoring objectives, expectations and methods
are discussed and planned
- implementation - of the Mentoring relationship in close
association with the Mentoreeís line manager (a very key player
who must not be overlooked!).
We have found this four-stage approach a very effective way to identify,
match and support Mentors and Mentorees.
The support required is wide ranging and the table below (based
on Leibowitz and Schlossber, 1981) gives an idea of the breadth of skills
and behaviours which Mentors may need to develop.
Moving from the traditional view of Mentoring to this model which identifies
the full range of skills and behaviours required of a Mentor today, it becomes
obvious that for any Mentoring programme to produce results must be carefully
implemented, monitored and managed.
If Mentoring is coming on to the agenda in your organization, make sure that
its complex nature and consequent need for professional support is understood.
Approached in this way, you will be on the path to a successful Mentoring initiative.