What is mentoring and why should you get involved?

In this article, we explore what mentoring is and the benefits to being a mentor, a mentee and organisational mentoring too. Guest-written by PushFar Advisory Board Member Simon Brown.

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Mentoring has been around for a long time. The word Mentor derives from Greek Mythology. Ulysses, before setting out on his epic voyage, entrusted his son Telemachus to the care and direction of his old and trusted friend, Mentor. In modern development terms, mentoring is a 1-2-1 two-way development relationship.

Why do we need Mentors?

“Every organisation needs some form of career development programme to produce a succession of motivated, upward-moving employees. Mentoring because it allows people to learn in an unthreatening manner, involves relatively little direct cost and is effective for all sorts of people, is one of the fastest expanding approaches to developing managerial potential “ David Clutterbuck, Everyone Needs a Mentor, 2004. Mentoring can be conducted through matching the wants of the mentee to the offers of the mentor, agreeing goals, and the frequency and duration of meetings. Ideally the mentee will own the organisation of the meeting and the agenda – after all, the incentive is their own personal development.

What does a Mentor do?

• Assists the mentee to establish realistic goals.
• Acts as a sounding board.
• Challenges the mentee to stretch and grow outside their comfort zone.
• Acts as a gateway to knowledge and networks.
• Seeks opportunities to support the mentee.
• Passes on know-how, experiences, and essential thinking patterns.

What are the benefits of Mentoring?

For the mentee:

• An easier induction into their new role.
• Improved self-confidence.
• Greater commitment to career. (Allen et al, Career Benefits Associated with Mentoring for proteges/mentees, 2004)
• Learning to cope with the formal and informal structure (gaining insights to unwritten codes and culture). (Clutterbuck, et al, 2004)
• Understanding how to network.
• Improved inclusion. (Kilian et al 2005, Building diversity in the pipeline to corporate leadership, Kutlik & Robertson, Diversity initiative effectiveness 2008)
• Career advice and the opportunity for advancement.
• Assistance with developing managerial and leadership skills.
• Applying learning to on the job situations.
• Insights into diverse ways of thinking, and into career path structures.
• Empowerment to set own goals and the meeting agenda with the mentor.

For the mentor:

• Greater job satisfaction.
• Greater organisational commitment. (Ghosh & Reio, Career Benefits Associated with mentoring for mentors, 2013)
• Reconnection with the organisation grassroots.
• New perspectives gained from listening to the mentee -for example about generational thinking -from Baby Boomer to Millennial and beyond.
• A sense of pride when their mentee performs well.
• Increased peer recognition.
• Providing a lens to re-examine things that they have learnt in their careers.
• Revisiting their own personal development.
• The opportunity to positively influence.
• An increase in their own ability.
• The chance to improve communication. (Clutterbuck et al, 2004)

For the organisation:

• Easier, more efficient induction.
• Improved motivation of both mentor and mentee.
• Enables a sound organisational culture: engagement, staff retention.
• Improves communications.
• Improves inclusion.
• Increases promotions.
• “Knock-on” benefits, for example: time management, resourcing.
• Savings in training and development costs.
• Rapid development of high-flyers.
• Brings diversity and inclusion to life, and into action, by appropriate diverse matching of mentor with mentee. Some types of mentoring programmes which leverage diversity include: Race and Culture, Gender, Sexual -Orientation, Mental Health and Wellbeing, Disability, Work and Age categories: Entrepreneurs, Self-Employed, Unemployed, Students, Pre-Retirement, Retired, etc. (Clutterbuck, Polsen & Kochan, Developing Successful Diversity Mentoring Programmes, 2012)
• Mentoring can be conducted virtually via Zoom, MS Teams, Skype, FaceTime etc. This means that the mentoring talent pool can be widened beyond immediate locations and travel time to mentoring meetings can be eliminated.
• Mentoring is more dynamic and interpersonal than the more passive on-line learning which became the low- cost training trend a few years ago. And this personal friendly human virtual touch is what is most needed in these current times of global pandemic.

Getting started with Mentoring:

Usually volunteers are invited to discuss the idea of mentoring, its objectives, their roles and responsibilities, the resources available to them, the process for matching, goal setting, meeting scheduling, tracking and review. This will differ from organisation to organisation depending on their overall business objectives, its culture, and ways of working.

At PushFar we offer you a career mentoring and learning platform that manages and automates a lot of the administrative tasks of running a mentoring relationship or organisational mentoring programme. Organisations that have enlisted PushFar estimate a reduction of over 80% of administration and logistics due to its intuitive, easy to use software platform.

Free to individuals. Own-branded for organisations and customised to your business needs for use of terms and matching, tracking etc. The PushFar platform is so flexible it can also support buddy and coaching initiatives as well as mentoring. A free platform to Learning Events comes as part of the PushFar package too.

For organisations, the monthly licence costs for running your own-branded PushFar mentoring platform are based of the number of mentoring participants who sign up to mentoring, ranging from £5 per person to £ 1 per person for larger group sizes. Whatever the group size, it is certainly a very cost- effective way to give the ownership of personal and career development to your people and gain all the proven benefits highlighted above. After all: most people spend more money than this monthly fee on their daily coffee/tea/soft drink!

Interested to find out more? Click here to join our open free mentoring network or click here to request a demo of PushFar's mentoring technoloy for your organisation.
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