Mentoring can play a critical role in shaping connections, learning, growth and innovation within workplaces. But, done poorly, mentoring can be a weapon for ‘do it this way because it’s the way we’ve always done it around here’. There is an art to building great mentoring relationships that have a contribution beyond just someone great to have a coffee (and a whinge) with.
Mentoring is an art that can foster growth, unlock hidden potential, and drive organisational change. This comes from having a clear understanding of what mentoring is, and the art of establishing and building strong mentoring connections.
The following are key tools to help you establish and craft great mentoring experiences:
Embrace Reverse Mentoring:
Traditionally, mentoring has been viewed as a one-way street, with senior executives guiding junior employees. However, contemporary research suggests that embracing reverse mentoring can be highly beneficial. Encourage employees to share their perspectives, technological expertise, and fresh insights with their more experienced counterparts – this combination is a spark for innovation. Combing lessons from the past, with the potential for the future.
Focus on Human Skills (not just technical skills):
While mentoring often revolves around improving technical skills, great mentoring also recognises the importance of builidng and learning the key human skills required for high performance. Emotional well-being and a sense of belonging are vital for an growth and engagement. The art of mentoring involves creating a safe and trusting space, where mentees feel comfortable discussing personal challenges, fears, and aspirations. By addressing both professional and personal aspects, mentors can help mentees navigate their career paths more effectively. It can also be the perfect reminder and mirror for mentors to prioritise their own energy and focus.
Foster Diverse Mentorship Networks:
Encourage your mentoring programs to embrace diversity in all its forms. Research indicates that diverse mentorship networks lead to enhanced creativity, better decision-making, and increased retention rates. By matching mentors and mentees from different backgrounds, experiences, and skill sets, you create opportunities for cross-pollination of ideas and perspectives. Consider a cross-section of industry – could you have a music conductor come and share how they form cohesion in your next ‘banking’ mentoring conversation?
Encourage Challenging Conversations:
We learn and grow when we’re challenged. Mentoring isn’t just about offering praise and guidance; it’s about facilitating growth through challenging conversations. It is the role of mentors to also be experts at quality feedback conversations. Challenge thinking, challenge behaviours, encourage a higher level of excellence; these can be achieved with phenomenal feedback skills.
Leverage Technology for Virtual Mentoring:
In today’s interconnected world, virtual mentoring has become increasingly prevalent. Embrace technology platforms that facilitate remote mentorship, enabling mentors and mentees to connect irrespective of geographical boundaries. Virtual mentoring opens doors to a wider pool of mentors, breaks down logistical barriers, and promotes flexibility. Think formal, scheduled video meetings mixed with voice messages, video messages or text messages create connection and feedback asynchronously.
Mastering the art of mentoring requires a nuanced approach, embracing counter-intuitive insights and tools. By promoting reverse mentoring, focusing on psychosocial support, fostering diverse mentorship networks, encouraging challenging conversations, and leveraging technology for virtual mentoring, you can unleash the true art of mentoring.
Embrace the art of mentoring, the potential growth it could bring could be the change your people are craving.
Looking to create an internal mentoring program with your organisation? Reach out to our team to talk about the program’s and structures we’ve developed with industry-leaders for their mentoring and coaching programs. Email us email@example.com.