Mentoring is the development of a relationship between a person who usually holds more experience (the mentor) than the other (the mentee). Through such a relationship, both parties can benefit greatly in both personal and professional aspects of their life.
Employees usually feel more engaged when they believe that their employers are facilitating their growth and providing routes for the individual to reach their career goals while at the same time aiming to reach the company's mission. Building this career path through mentoring provides employees with ongoing support to enhance their communication and leadership skills, improve their skills and abilities and become a master at their current job. Facilitating career paths can also have a direct effect on overall company morale, satisfaction, productivity, and motivation; combine this with the benefits of initiating an employee mentor program:
- Building communication and leadership
A mentoring partnership helps mentors to develop their ability to motivate and encourage others, assisting them to become better managers, employees and team members. Not only does the mentor reap the benefits, but the mentee begins to build their skill sets that will impact their leadership and initiation skills for the future.
- Supporting problem-solving
A mentor can offer guidance and advice to help the mentee improve their problem-solving skills. Having an outside perspective of an issue can help individuals scope the problem in its entirety rather than being stuck in their single mindset. By sharing ideas and problems with the mentor, they act as a support system to help make decisions more confidently.
- Transferring and building knowledge
Mentors are experts at what they do, by creating a relationship that surrounds sharing, the mentee is able to develop and build on their own knowledge from someone with first-hand experience. The transfer of knowledge is a key element in the mentor/mentee relationship, so creating this environment only encourages knowledge building.
A mentor must understand their mentee's skills before initiating a career development program for them. By identifying mentee aptitudes, you can adjust your program to best suit their career path and assist them on a personal level. These types of skills for a mentor relationship include:
- Communication skills
Successful mentoring surrounds a relationship of trust and open communication. This skill allows the mentor to enhance the mentee to the best of their ability. The mentor can present methods clearly and lay out goals in a way the mentee understands. The clearer the communication the clearing the understanding.
Active listening skills are essential for mentoring. Mentors and mentees spend much of their relationship talking and listening to information so without it, much would be missed and misunderstood. By fully concentrating on what is being said the listener is able to completely surround themselves with what is happening and is more likely to understand, respond and remember what is being said.
- Trust building
Many mentorships surround trust, this is because for mentorship to work each party must trust one another in their opinions and advice. If a mentee does not trust their mentor they are unlikely to open up and let the mentor in on what needs guidance. With trust, each party can build a relationship around mutual reliance, respect and willingness to open up.
By sharing your own experiences and struggles, you are being as honest as possible. Doing this allows each party to view the other as a real person, someone of imperfection, and in turn the other is more willing to help out, to provide guidance.
- Giving feedback
Giving and receiving feedback in mentorships are essential to development. It provides an efficient approach to building better relationships, learning and improving performance for goal achievement.
Providing your employees with the tools to learn more about themselves allows employees to understand what it is they are doing and what career path would best suit them. For example, if, through running tests, the individual finds out they are an extroverted individual, they may find excitement and motivation in a customer-facing position. Allowing your employee to really find out whom they allow them to thrive in their role
- Explore possible career paths
Allow your employees to explore their career paths by supporting them in researching available jobs within the organisation. Providing them with tools that allow them to explore this route will help them understand the competencies needed for each specific role. By doing so, they will be able to choose a career path that they are proficient in, which will make them a more successful employee.
- Designate a mentor
Giving employees the opportunity to choose a mentor with your oversight will likely match them up with a mentor that will help them with their preferred career path. The mentor should be selected specifically on the employees’ competencies and their identified career path.
- Set goals
Once the mentor and career path are selected, goals should be set. You can find out more about setting measurable and achievable goals here (insert article about goals)
- Track progress
Ensuring that your mentees are giving feedback and realigning their career path with their goals can be facilitated through a mentor. This ensures that the relationship remains on track and that the program continuously heads in the right direction.