Steven Spielberg, an American director, producer and screenwriter, said that, “The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.” Before going through the benefits of having a solid, efficient mentoring program in a company, why not define the concept first? Mentoring is a kind of relationship between people which aims to achieve a higher degree of professional and personal development. The “mentor” usually takes the lead so he or she needs to be an experienced individual who is willing to share knowledge, experience, and advice with less experienced persons, or “mentees.” Through support and encouragement, the mentors become the trusted advisers and role models who offer suggestions and knowledge gained through years of experience. In this way, mentees are able to improve their skills that will enable them to advance in their careers and to “create themselves” more efficiently. It must be noted, however, that the relationship should be based on mutual trust and earned respect. Mentorship is essential for a company because such programs help retain talent and provide key direction for career growth. If the company can retain good individuals while steering them to positions that they will excel and be efficient, it is obvious that such company will benefit in the long run.
Mentoring is a way to manage knowledge, one of the most valuable assets in organizations today. Mentoring is a technique that must be used so that knowledge gained by the older workforce will not leave with them when they retire. Mentoring is also a tool for growth and development because it assists people to be more connected to the workplace and their colleagues that, in turn, will promote careers and leadership development by encouraging big-picture thinking. Mentoring also supports diversity efforts of a company so that an environment is created where everyone is empowered to contribute to the workplace. Managing a diverse workplace requires sensitivity and awareness of other people’s cultural beliefs and a mentoring program. Knowing how to articulate workplace expectations and understanding the expectations of employees with diverse backgrounds, through the mentoring program, is vital to supporting diversity efforts and understanding how to use these differences to support the organization’s core values. Mentoring, come to think of it, is a valuable social tool. When done well, mentoring decreases recidivism, builds stronger families and increases participation in education. Mentoring within communities builds capacity and empowers individuals to create positive change for generations to come. Alas, mentoring programs are often overlooked and neglected, or even abandoned and scrapped, by institutions. Though such institutions may thrive and succeed, their successes would have been much grander if only their mentoring programs have been competently utilized.
Mentoring is a unique combination of the qualities of coaches, trainers, and consultants. Mentors, like coaches, help you to explore where you are in your career, where you want to go, and how you might get there. A coach will also support you in taking action to move toward your goal. As trainers, mentors help you learn and develop specific skills and knowledge. They typically set the topic, the pace, the goals, and the learning method. You will obviously choose courses that match your requirements as closely as possible and mentoring can be tailored to your needs. While training is often best suited for gaining knowledge and skills, mentoring can also help you develop personal qualities and competencies. As Career Consultants or Career Counsellors, mentors are important to people in transition between jobs, while also helping you develop your skills when in a particular role.
The good news is, it is not only the companies that benefit from this kind of program. Both mentors and mentees have a lot to gain from mentoring each other. For the mentors, the experience can further enrich his or her life on a personal and professional level. First, leadership skills can be built because mentors are required to have the ability to motivate and encourage others. Communications skills can definitely be improved because mentors are encouraged to be flexible enough to communicate their ideas and wisdom to different mentees coming from different backgrounds. Also, new and fresh perspectives will inevitably be learnt by the mentor and, maybe, a new way of thinking from people less experienced and from a different background. Obviously, refining leadership skills will strengthen on-the-job performance that may perhaps be of great help in the mentor’s own career advancement. Lastly, the enormous feeling of personal satisfaction will be had by the mentor through the knowledge that he or she has directly contributed to someone else’s growth and development. Seeing a mentee succeed may be a reward in itself for the mentor. For the mentees, on the other hand, mentoring programs will have many advantages. To reiterate, a mentee will be the recipient of valuable insights into what it takes to get ahead. Such insights shared will serve as the guide for mentees for ideas and for the best course of action during difficult situations. Past mistakes will not be repeated by the mentees if mentored efficiently. Knowledge and skills will also be developed since mentors are there to assess and identify the skills the mentees are oftentimes not aware of. Mentees will be taught what they need to know, or advised on where to go to for the information needed to be effective. Just like for the mentors, communication skills will also be developed which will be an asset in and out of the workplace. Naturally, mentees will definitely learn new perspectives from someone who has “been there, done that.” Mentors can also offer an opportunity for the mentees to expand their existing network of personal and professional contacts. Lastly, career advancement may be had by the mentees since mentors will keep such mentees on track in their careers through advice, skills development, networking, and the like.