Mentoring is Essential for Career Growth
Over the past ten years, I have facilitated more than 50 speed mentor pairing sessions for government and nonprofit organizations. I’m always amazed at the way these short interactions often lead to lasting connections that contribute to tremendous growth opportunities for participating mentors and mentees.
Mentoring is a powerful developmental activity because it provides social learning opportunities that are essential for career growth. Some of the benefits of implementing a mentoring program include:
Prevention – When mentors share lessons-learned, mentees benefit from career guidance, including how to avoid common pitfalls.
Onboarding – A mentor can ease the transition into a new organization or role and accelerate a mentee’s ability to navigate the new culture and political landscape.
Networking – Mentors can introduce mentees to people they may not have the opportunity to meet on their own — connections that can be extremely advantageous for career growth and professional development.
Protection – Mentoring provides a safe environment for mentees to share career challenges and explore solutions with their mentors.
Development – Mentors demonstrate leadership through active listening, interpersonal communication, and emotional intelligence as they guide and nurture mentees.
While you may be familiar with organization-led mentorship programs where a senior mentor provides one-on-one guidance to a junior mentee, this is just one of many mentoring relationships that have been proven to be effective. Review the following differentiators and consider which structure, ratio, and hierarchy will work best for your organization.
Structure – Although organizations may establish formal mentoring programs that have goals, requirements, timeframes, and mentor-mentee pairing criteria, informal mentorships can be formed when one person asks another to mentor them.
Ratio – In most cases, mentoring is provided one-on-one to allow for personalized pairing, advice, and feedback, however, when a mentor guides a group of mentees, participants can learn from the mentor and each other.
Hierarchy – Traditionally, a senior mentor helps guide a junior mentee, but when both parties have similar levels of experience, they may mentor each other.
As you consider all of the developmental activities available within your organization, what role could mentorship play? How can it be used to refine leadership qualities of potential mentors, which mentees could be groomed for career advancement? The possibilities are endless.
Before you set up a formal mentorship program, take some time to define your goals, identify people who may be willing to take responsibility for the program, or participate, and plan out the introduction, communication, and follow up to document and share the news of your success.
Deadra Welcome is the Founder and CEO of Concerning Learning LLC. She is a Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP), Certified Professional in Training Management (CPTM), and a Kirkpatrick Bronze Level Certification credential holder.